The World Health Organization reported that the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa has already killed a total of 147 people. The virus still remains just in two nations, Guinea and Liberia, despite rumors that it is starting to spread to other countries.
Ebola is a kind of hemorrhagic fever that is transmitted from animals to humans. The disease is a group of viruses that affect different body systems. Currently, Ebola doesn't have a vaccine to prevent people from infection. The virus has a total of five strains and after the outbreak in West Africa, only three strains have been identified.
WHO stated that Guinea reported 208 Ebola clinical cases, including 136 deaths, while Liberia reported 34 cases and 11 deaths. Sierra Leone reported 19 suspected Ebola cases, but all tested negative for the virus.
Ebola's spread into West Africa is unprecedented and health officials in the region do not have any experience with the world's deadliest virus. The virus was typically found in East or Central Africa. Ebola kills up to 90 percent of infected patients, spreading in the blood and quickly shutting down the immune system. It causes headache, high fever, muscle pain and bleeding, and is contagious if infected body fluids are touched.
United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) deployed a team of 12 members to Lofa County to prevent the spread of Ebola. The members visit one house at a time to spread information about proper precautionary measures to help prevent further spread of the disease. UNICEF connects to the local communities directly to inform them how they can avoid the disease and suggest infection-control practices on how to respond should they get sick, to prevent spreading it to even more people. Some people, if the disease is caught early and treated, have recovered.
"The Liberian Government, with its partners, has done a great job spreading out information on Ebola, but in a country where illiteracy is high and the communication infrastructure is weak, media efforts must be complemented by community engagement and dialogue," Sheldon Yett, a representative of UNICEF Liberia, said. "This is particularly important in Lofa, where the highest number of confirmed and suspected Ebola cases have been reported."
The campaign's key message is: "Protect yourself, your family and your community: Let us stop the spread of Ebola together." UNICEF liaises with healers and traditional leaders, visiting schools, mosques, churches and marketplaces. The organization air-lifted urgently needed supplies of plastic tarpaulins, chlorine, sprayers and more to Médecin Sans Frontière, an isolated unit in Foya Hospital, Lofa County.