Ebola Hits Diamond Mine Area in Sierra Leone

Ebola Hits Diamond Mine Area in Sierra Leone


A report has been released by the World Health Organization (WHO) that reveals that Ebola has hit the diamond-producing area of Kono in Sierra Leone. Scores of bodies have been piling up in at least one hospital.

Kono is part Sierra Leone that borders Guinea. There is possibly a major Ebola outbreak there, and it has largely been unreported until now. It had been thought that Ebola in the area had been brought under control.

When a team from WHO was sent there, twenty-five people had already died. Part of the hospital had been sectioned off so that patients suspected of having Ebola could be isolated.

In just a matter of days, two burial teams put 87 bodies into the ground. As of December 9, there were 119 cases in the Kona district. Medical staff are being overworked and exhausted.

One of the doctors on WHO staff who went to investigate, Olu Olushayo, reported that they had met workers who were “heroic” but at the end of their ability to cope. Resources are stretched to beyond their breaking point.

The last report of Ebola from WHO came out on December 7th. It is believed that the latest numbers from the Kona outbreak were not included in this report, but 24 were that had occurred before its release.

Seven people in the Kono district were verified to have Ebola. In order to help slow down the new infections in this area, the country’s authorities have placed Kono under lockdown. It will stay in place for two weeks and end on December 23, just two days before Christmas.

Ebola continues to be a rapidly growing problem in Sierra Leone. Just a few days ago, the number of cases there had surpassed those in Liberia. Part of the reason for the outbreak still being out of control in the region is that the region’s leaders still have not taken the matter seriously enough to be able to combat it successfully. Not enough money and proper techniques to control the outbreak is being applied.

The new statistics for Ebola now stand at 16,169 cases total. There have been 6,928 deaths, but WHO believes the numbers are actually considerably higher because many people hide their loved ones when they contract the often fatal disease.

Among those who have died are many health care workers. In the three countries where the outbreak has been the strongest, as many as 622 health care workers have been infected, and 346 of them have died. In an area where they are limited, this has further hurt efforts to control Ebola, and it has scared others already in the field from helping.

One other element that has slowed down efforts to control the spread of the virus is that junior doctors are on strike. This is their third day. They want access to better health care if they should become infected with Ebola.

An earlier goal set by WHO to have 100 percent of the people infected with Ebola in quarantine has been set back a few more months. The original goal was for January 1, but they now say that it will take a few months more. It had hoped to have 70 percent of patients in quarantine by December 1.

By Michael Valles


Image courtesy of Steve Evans Flickr License

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.