The red cross moves 700 rescuers In Guinea. Local aid workers will research the source and contact about the Ebola infection. “But they will also provide information about hygiene and clean drinking water, and help organize safe funerals,” says Naomi Nolte of the Red Cross.
Ebola becomes more contagious when the patient dies. Nolte: “It is therefore important that the victim is buried safely in order to prevent further infection.”
Not the first time
In the Congo, this is the fourth outbreak in less than three years. More than 2,000 people were killed in the latest outbreak. Guinea was free of Ebola for five years, and the country suffered the largest outbreak of Ebola ever in 2014. The virus then spread rapidly to neighboring countries such as Sierra Leone and Liberia. In total, more than 11,000 people died in West Africa.
“This is still well dug in Guinea. That’s why they responded so quickly when they saw people with symptoms,” says Van Gelder. “Neighboring countries Liberia and Sierra Leone immediately jumped in and started border checks.”
According to Nolte of the Red Cross, it’s now also important to act quickly. “Countries already have a weak health care system. Half of Guinea’s population lives below the poverty line, and then you have the Coronavirus. If you add Ebola to that, not only are there enormous problems in health care, but also at the economic and social level.”
Gezondheidszorg: wreath of Ebola
Healthcare in both countries is already under pressure from Corona. According to Elles van Gelder, countries are now better prepared, because of past experiences, but also because they have more resources. “During the outbreak in West Africa in 2014, there was no vaccine yet, but now there is also a medicine. The virus is still dangerous, but anyway, there are possibilities to treat patients and we hope to reduce the number of deaths. These are important steps forward. “
However, there is a fear that there may not be enough Ebola vaccines if the outbreaks become too large. Van Gelder: “Partly because pharmaceutical companies are now so focused on producing the Corona vaccine. They are trying to keep it as small as possible, but this is not an easy situation for hospitals that are already suffering from Corona.”
Nolte also believes that previous Ebola outbreaks have provided the necessary experience. “This time we have to make sure the virus is not spreading widely, but we have to move very quickly,” he added.
In Congo and Guinea are now looking for Patient zeroThe person from whom the new fascism originated. Van Gelder: “In the Congo, they check, among other things, whether the deceased woman contracted the virus from her husband. Research shows that the virus can persist in the sperm cells for a long time, and thus she could have contracted it through sexual contact. . “