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Medical Teams International | Official Blog

Get the latest updates from our programs in the field internationally and here in the United States.  

DISASTER UPDATE: Ebola Outbreak

by Katie Carroll | Jul 03, 2014
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Outside the ELWA Hospital Isolation Unit.

 

The deadly Ebola virus continues to spiral out of control in West Africa.  This is now the most widespread and deadly Ebola epidemic ever.  According to the World Health Organization, there are nearly 760 suspected cases and over 460 deaths.  The virus is 90% fatal, and there is no vaccine or cure.

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The Liberian Ministry of Health (MoH) has requested MTI's help, and our response is fully in motion. Our Liberian staff is working to contain the deadly virus in the most effective way possible: through education. We are mobilizing local community health volunteers to educate the community on how the virus is transmitted.

Although the terrifying and deadly, Ebola is surprisingly hard to contract unless a person comes in direct contact with blood, vomit or other bodily fluids. Plus, a person is NOT contagious until they are acutely ill or have died. However, misunderstanding and rumors in West Africa abound. Some believe the Ministry of Health has made up the virus. Others think that white people (those in protective gear) are causing the virus. Many refuse to identify contacts because they are afraid they will become infected if placed in isolation.

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One of our Community Health Volunteers with education materials on how Ebola is transmitted.

 

Additionally, health facilities are short on workers. Health care providers are afraid to go to work and become infected. As a result, people are dying from non-Ebola-related deaths. MTI is training nearly 100 health workers in the basics of Ebola and how to protect themselves from infection.

MTI is also providing volunteers to support ELWA Hospital, our partner in Monrovia. ELWA is one of three designated isolation units for Ebola in the area. Publically praised by the Ministry of Health, it is a model example of infection control, with zero health workers infected. At one of the other isolation units run by the MoH, nine health workers have already died. With our volunteers relieving staff in hospital assignments, local care providers can go to the front lines to assist with Ebola patients.

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After exposure in the isolation unit, clothing & boots are disinfected with chlorine.

 

We are mobilizing volunteers now, with the first U.S. volunteer heading out July 6th. All staff and volunteers near an Ebola-infected area will wear protective suits.

We need YOUR HELP to spread the word on how this horrifying virus is transmitted and prevent further infections! Please donate today.


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