Ebola Attacks Kakata: 4 Die, 11 Infected

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As of late yesterday afternoon, a registered nurse and three other clinical staff  have died at the C.H. Rennie Hospital in Kakata, Margibi , and 11 others working at the facility are said to be showing symptoms of the Ebola disease, the hospital's Medical Director has disclosed.

Dr. Adolphus Yeiah told the Daily Observer Wednesday that as the result of the ongoing deaths of the nurses and other support staff,
his administration is contemplating shutting down the hospital if results of specimens taken from other nurses and sent for testing in Monrovia prove positive.

In a brief exclusive interview with this newspaper, Dr. Yeiah added that the decision to close the hospital down "is  intended to be a
warning sign to the public and other institutions that the situation could go from bad to worse, as there are other sensitive health-related issues that we are closely monitoring as well."

The situation has left the hospital partially abandoned by the nurses, "because they have been complaining about the lack of personal
protective equipment (PPEs), but to no avail."

According to Dr. Yeiah, one of the Ebola victims, a lab technician, Steven Blamah, contracted the virus along with the other 11 other
nurses (not named) from one of their late colleagues, John Quaye. The late Mr. Quaye worked with another public health facility in Kakata, but died recently of  Ebola.

"After contracting the virus, the late Quaye concealed the information from his colleagues, and was working alongside them, while secretly treating suspected patients of the virus at the same time at his private clinic and also at his residence."

The late Mr. Quaye's wife and sister (not named) are also down with the virus and are refusing to show up at the hospital, after doctors had advised them to do so following Quaye's death.

Meanwhile, it is being reported that residents of Kakata City are now gripped with fear as the Ebola virus  spreads its tentacles in that
densely populated part of the country. The city center and other public areas that usually attract huge numbers of people are becoming virtually empty, according to one of our sources.

It is reported that a group of health workers on the Ebola Team is now in Kakata to evacuate the infected victims to Monrovia to be
quarantined in a better environment where they would be properly monitored.  That exercise, Dr. Yeiah said, will also help to stop the
spread of the virus in the densely populated city of Kakata and its environs.

But our Kakata-based source said that the medical facility at the City Clinic, where the first victim contracted the virus has  been
closed for 34 days. Accordingly, the process of chlorinating all public facilities as well as some 'sensitive' private areas in the county are well underway.

Observers see the Ebola attack on Kakata as extremely disturbing, given the city's central location.  Most travelers up country, especially to Bong, Lofa, Nimba, Grand Gedeh and other parts of southeastern Liberia not only pass through Kakata, but also stop there for refueling, rest, food and shopping.

Kakata lies in the heart of Liberia's rubber belt.  It is adjacent to three major concession areas, Firestone, Salala Rubber Corporation situated in Weala near Salala, Bong County, and China Union, the mining concession operating the former Bong Mines in the densely populated Fauma Chiefdom.  Closer to Kakata is the country's largest privately owned rubber plantation, Morris American Rubber, formerly known as Morris Farm.

There are also many major educational institutions in Kakata, the biggest being the Booker Washington Institute (BWI), the Lango Lippaye High School, St. Augustine High School and the Cuttington Community College, which also trains nurses.

In a related development, the  Christian church, Full Gospel Ministry, has declared a five-day Fast and Prayer in Kakata to appeal for God's divine intervention to heal the land. "We have gathered at the Philadelphia Church on Kakata's main street to pray for God's intervention in our situation," a member of the church has said.

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