Sierra Leone Ebola Spike Worse Than Suspected But Fast Response

The World Health Organization (WHO) reported on December 10 that in cooperation with the CDC and the Sierra Leone National Ebola Response Center and Ministry of Health have begun a massive build up to combat a major Ebola outbreak in the Kona diamond region of the country adjacent to Guinea.

As of December 10, the WHO Ebola Situation Report was as follows:

17, 942 cases of Ebola and 6388 deaths.

Incidence is increasing in Guinea, decreasing in Liberia, and may be increasing or stable in Sierra Leone.

Sierra Leone has the highest number of reported cases with 7897 cases reported to date.

Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone have sufficient total capacity to isolate and treat all reported EVD cases, and bury all Ebola deaths safely and with dignity but some individual regions lack resources.

Initial disturbing reports from poorly equipped observers triggered the government and NGOs to send vehicles and additional observers who found the early reports had been very conservative.

“In 11 days, 2 teams buried 87 bodies, [the team included]a nurse, an ambulance driver, and a janitor drafted into removing bodies as they piled up at the only area hospital, ill-equipped to deal with the dangerous pathogen. In the 5 days before the team arrived, 25 people died in the hastily cordoned off section of the main hospital serving as a makeshift Ebola holding center.

As of 9 December 2014, this district of over 350 000 people officially has 119 reported cases. Upon hearing the WHO findings, Dr. Amara Jambai, MoHS Director of Disease Prevention and Control harkened a local saying to describe what remains yet to be discovered, “we are only seeing the ears of the hippo.”