Ebola outbreak in West Africa: Liberia’s education ministry shuts down
WORLD – Liberia, West Africa – The education ministry in Liberia has shut down after the death of one of its employee on Monday night, according to the Liberian Observer. The shutdown was effective immediately till further notice.
Education Minister, Etmonia David Tarpeh made the decision as soon as she discovered the employee who died on Monday night left work sick and vomiting. The Liberian Observer further reported the deceased, Henry Karma, died at his Barnesville residence from “running stomach.” He showed up for work on early Monday, but returned home complaining of an uninterrupted ‘running stomach’, which reportedly led to his demise. The deceased, according to a highly placed source at MOE, decided to stay away from any of the nearby medical facilities. He rather remained at home because he feared being diagnosed with the Ebola virus.
“Late into Monday night, Henry Karma’s condition worsened until he expired. The MOE authorities on Tuesday morning suspected that Mr. Karma ‘s death was due to the Ebola virus. This led the Minister to order the immediate and indefinite shutting down of the entire Ministry,” the source stated.
Government struggles to contain virus
The Ebola pandemic has caused the country much difficulty and frustration in the government trying to contain the spread of the virus. The Wall Street Journal reports the extremely deadly Ebola virus has infected more than 1,000 people in three countries this year and Liberia has closed its borders this past Monday.
Closing a country’s borders for an infectious disease is uncommon, but illustrates the level of frustration government and health officials are experiencing as the deadly outbreak rages through its fifth month, having infected at least 1,201 people and killing 672. The moves follow the death of one of Liberia’s top doctors over the weekend, as well as news that two U.S. health-care workers working in Liberia have been infected.
Key facts of Ebola
Key facts of the Ebola virus according to the World Health Organization:
- Ebola virus disease (EVD), formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever, is a severe, often fatal illness in humans.
- EVD outbreaks have a case fatality rate of up to 90%.
- EVD outbreaks occur primarily in remote villages in Central and West Africa, near tropical rainforests.
- The virus is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission. Fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family are considered to be the natural host of the Ebola virus.
- Severely ill patients require intensive supportive care. No licensed specific treatment or vaccine is available for use in people or animals.
The key action to contain the virus is to isolate the sick, however the country’s isolation areas are not well-equiped and the isolation tools needed are stretched thin. Educating the public has also been a challenge as many do not believe the virus exists or news of the outbreak is true. Their biggest fear when exhibiting symptoms is being quarantined and kept isolated from their families and the rest of the world. This fear, along with rumors of mistreatment and death by treatment have prevented many of those infected from rushing to the nearest medical facility for help.