I have previously written about the deadly Ebola virus in Africa , how it has claimed the lives of many and how health organizations were working to combat the deadly killer virus.
It now appears that Ebola is a real threat in many West African nations, especially Sierra Leone. Ebola has now killed 467 people across Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia and infected many more. In Sierra Leone alone, 99
people have died – and for the first time, President Ernest Bai Koroma commented on the disease on Wednesday. “Ebola is real . Ebola kills, ” he said.
But Ebola does not simply kill . It spreads fear and mistrust among friends, divides communities, destroys livelihoods and puts a stop to education.
Being associated with someone who died of the Ebola Virus disease makes one a ‘social outcast’
Aljazeera met a man whose life has been greatly affected by Ebola when they visited Sierra Leone, and this is his story:
The man who wished to remain anonymous to avoid the stigma of being associated with the disease, tells a harrowing story. A resident at the family compound, feeling unwell, went for testing at the local hospital , where she was
diagnosed with typhoid , a common complaint in subtropical Sierra Leone. And so relieved family members went to visit her. By the time medical staff realised the disease was in fact Ebola, seven members of her family had also contracted it. Four are now dead . Three others are at the hospital being treated. The remaining family members have been ostracised. The children, who tested negative, requested certificates so that they might be able to sit
exams but none was granted. One reason why Ebola is very dangerous is that it is spread through contact with the fluids of an infected person, which means that friends and family are infecting each other, parents passing the disease on to children.
The charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) has already warned that the Ebola outbreak is out of control. The organisation has some 300 international and national staff working in African cointries: Guinea, as well as Sierra Leone and Liberia, where the virus has spread. Other countries are on alert in case it
spreads even further.
It is tremendously sad that the highly contagious Ebola Virus disease doesn’t only kill but bring ostracization, which makes it similar to the early days of HIV. I really hope that an efficient cure for Ebola will be discovered soon enough.