Barely one month after Liberia was declared free of Ebola and while Africa is yet to recover fully from the damages done and the number of people killed, the deadly disease has struck again. In Liberia particularly life is just beginning to regain some sense of normalcy and most of the people are yet to recover from the loss of their loved one. The Ebola virus was one of the worst epidemic to have hit the country and Africa by inference but it seems the virus is not done with Africa.
In a most recent turn of events, Guinea and Sierra Leone have recorded 35 new cases of bola within the last week. The World Health Organisation (WHO) says the latest cases are a reminder that the virus will need extraordinary efforts to be eradicated, this calls to mind their previous warning that the Ebola virus will not go quietly, that it will take an enormous amount of resource and effort to eradicate the disease completely.
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In the light of this most recent outbreak, WHO says there might be a rise in the number of cases considering the method through which the disease is transmitted. To better combat this and stop the disease from spreading, WHO says it is setting up a $100 million contingency fund in case of a massive outbreak.
WHO’s special representative for Ebola, Bruce Aylward, said in a briefing attended by health ministers, “It will take an extraordinary effort to finish the job.”
“With the start of the rainy season today, the doubling of effort will be that much more difficult, that much more important,” he added, referring to increased logistical challenges for health workers.
The 35 new cases in the week to 17 May were in six districts of Guinea and Sierra Leone, with most infections in Guinea, Aylward said. Nine new cases were confirmed the previous week.
He also added that the $100m contingency fund WHO is raising is to ensure that the cases that might arise in the future will not overwhelm them as it did in the last battle at Liberia and other countries, killing over 11, 000 people. WHO director general, Margaret Chan said on Tuesday
The virus, in this case Ebola, has shown how easy it is for a single cross-border traveler or unsafe burial to reignite the epidemic again…. We have come too far to allow things to slip back.”
Remy Lamah, Health minister of Guinea said they are trying to search around the country for new cases but that the major challenges to stopping the spread of the virus are some of the traditional and cultural practices which the people cannot seem to let go of. For instance, the practice of washing dead bodies before burial. Since some of these bodies might have died of Ebola knowingly or unknowingly, that might another fast way of spreading the virus. He went on to say “There are certain cases of dissent with respect to measures taken in parts of the country but it is going down.”
Sierra Leone’s chief medical officer, Brima Kargbo, said there were signs that its strategy was working.
“One lesson we have learned is that good is not good enough. We need continued vigilance with a focus on hotspot districts,” Kargbo said.
In the light of this new development, there is the need to watch out for anyone that might be coming into the country from around the recently affected countries, Also, a very good personal hygiene is advised since the virus is developing more organised ways of spreading itself.