38 Deaths in 3 Days: Ebola Wreaks Havoc in Lofa

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A sad moment as 9 of the 15_web.jpg

The Ebola virus is taking a deadly toll on the northern county of Lofa where the deadly disease initially crossed over from neighboring Guinea.  More and more people in that county continue to be victimized by the virus.

In a statistical report provided by the Lofa Health Team on the status of the situation in the county, made available to the Daily Observer Wednesday, August 13, there were 38 deaths recorded in three days.  These include confirmed Ebola cases, probable and suspected. This report covers the three-day period August 8 to 11, 2014. The number of new contact cases within this period (August 8-11) stands at 81.

The total deaths in the county since May 29, 2014 to date stands at 221. Lofa is so far one of the most highly affected counties.

The update also disclosed that the number of patients presently at the Foya Care Center (August 8-11), one of the two Ebola centers in the country, stands at 81.

New reported death amongst health workers (August 8-11) is one, totaling 12 deaths since the outbreak in May.

During this period, 45 specimens were taken and tested: 15 were positive, 8 negative and the rest are still pending.

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf recently said she is saddened by the fast pace at which the virus is spreading in the country, especially to other communities that were not previously affected. “And what this means is that our people are still not listening to the pieces of advice and instructions that are being given.”  Such instructions include constant hand washing; avoiding handshakes and touching in general; immediate reporting of cases of high fever, vomiting and bleeding; and avoiding touching anyone suspected to have the virus.

Meanwhile it is being reported that nine members of a single family of 15 were being removed from the Macenta road community, in the capital Voinjama, to the Foya Care Center. This is, however, another worrying concern for the people of Voinjama City, as it wrestles in the grip of the virus.

Macenta road community is located just after the Mandingo quarter where eight persons died few days ago, and is also a predominantly Mandingo community.

According to sources, six members of this family of 15 had already died from the virus. The nine remaining family members were being taken to the Foya Care Center.

President Sirleaf, while declaring a State of Emergency last week, said the Ebola threat continues to grow as a result of ignorance, poverty as well as entrenched religious and cultural practices. She indicated that these continue to exacerbate the spread of the disease, especially in the counties.

The Liberian President added that actions allowed by statute under the public health law are no longer adequate to deal with the Ebola epidemic, as comprehensively and holistically, as the outbreak requires.

The President noted that the scope and skills of the epidemic now exceed the capacity and statutory mandates of any one government agency or ministry. The Ebola virus disease, and the ramifications and the consequences thereof, now constitute an outright national calamity.

Health authorities in Lofa County said due to the influx of suspected cases, patients are now being transported in pickup trucks, which have no sirens, rather than the ambulances, whose sirens are causing a lot of trauma for residents.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare Ebola Situation Report (SitRep) has recorded that since the outbreak of the virus in March to August 11, at least 149 confirmed deaths from 166 confirmed positive victims.

Among the 149 have been 37 health workers out of 86, who now fallen prey to the virus.

However, the SitRep lists total deaths in confirmed, probable and suspected cases as 355, for the record.

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