The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, on Monday said that there are reasons for both hope and continued worry about the Ebola epidemic in West Africa. "I'm hopeful about stopping the epidemic, but I remain realistic that this is going to be a long, hard fight," says Dr. Frieden at a news conference, after his weeklong trip to the affected countries Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
It was reported by the World Health Organization on Monday that about 19,340 Ebola cases have been identified where Sierra Leone had the most cases, 8,939; Liberia had 7,830 and Guinea 2,571. a total of 7,518 deaths have been recorded in West Africa.
AdvertisementDr. Frieden said that when he had visited a remote part of Guinea just a few months ago, there was no treatment center and also the resistance to visiting health workers had been intense. He felt very hopeful to find that now there is a center, established by the French Red Cross, with acceptance by the community, good care and patients surviving. However, when he came to know that on a recent day in Conakry, Guinea's capital, there were not enough beds for all the Ebola patients who needed them, it was a reason to feel alarmed. Leaving infected people in the community can lead to exponential spread of the disease. Dr. Frieden said, "That's what Conakry is at risk of." He had also met with Guinea's president, Alpha Condé, who told him that the country was working hard to open more treatment units in Conakry.
In spite of being six months since the epidemic started, a nurse at Donka Hospital in Conakry, Guinea's largest hospital, had contracted Ebola after starting an intravenous line on a patient who turned out to be infected because she failed to wear gloves. This, Dr. Frieden said, was a source of dismay.
Sierra Leone has also been struggling, Dr. Frieden said, noting that many health workers at Connaught Hospital in the capital, Freetown, have died of Ebola and that the hospital is still "largely closed." At least 10 people a day have been dying in the surrounding community, sometimes at the hospital entrance.
Many health workers at Connaught Hospital in the Sierra Leone's capital, Freetown, have died of Ebola and that the hospital is still "largely closed". Which shows the struggle the country is going through, according to Dr. Frieden. He added that at least 10 people a day have been dying in the surrounding community, sometimes at the hospital entrance.