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Tuesday
Aug262014

Ebola-Stricken Countries Scramble to Build Treatment Centers

Courtesy Dr. Richard Besser(MONROVIA, Liberia) -- Aid groups in West Africa are scrambling to build treatment centers for the growing number of Ebola patients in the region.

The latest construction in Kenema, Sierra Leone, will house patients currently flooding the city's public hospital.

The Ebola outbreak continues to spread through Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, where at least 2,615 people have contracted the virus and 1,427 people have died, according to the World Health Organization.

Roughly 240 health care workers have been infected while working to curb the outbreak, according to WHO, 120 of whom have died.

Ebola is a contagious virus that spreads through contact with body fluids. The best way to prevent its spread is to isolate patients until they're no longer showing symptoms such as fever, aches, diarrhea and vomiting.

But the unprecedented outbreak, that largest since the discovery of Ebola in 1976, has overwhelmed what little medical infrastructure existed before cases began to emerge in March 2014. Shuttered schools and buildings once reserved for cholera patients have been transformed into Ebola wards to keep up with the influx of patients.

In Liberia, new treatment centers are quickly filling up with previously unidentified Ebola patients leading health officials there to suspect an uncounted and untreated "invisible caseload," according to WHO.

Meanwhile, the outbreak is depleting resources needed to address other medical problems, according to ABC News chief health and medical editor Dr. Richard Besser, who is reporting from Monrovia, Liberia.

"The number of women who give birth without a trained attendant, the number of children with malaria who go untreated, and the number of people who die from trauma because there is no hospital willing or able to take them is unknown," Dr. Besser said.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio