Suspected Ebola cases sent home as Liberian isolation unit fills up

Thursday, July 31, 2014

DAKAR, July 30 (Reuters) – An isolation unit for Ebola victims in Liberia’s capital, Monrovia, is overrun with cases and health workers are being forced to treat up to 20 new patients in their homes, government officials said on Wednesday.

Protests by the local community against the construction of a new isolation unit at Elwa Hospital have ended, said Tolbert Nyenswah, an assistant minister of health, but patients with Ebola symptoms will have to wait at home until work is finished.

West Africa is battling the worst Ebola outbreak on record, with 672 people believed to have died in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra since the epidemic began in February, according to the World Health Organisation.

“The staff here are overwhelmed. This is a humanitarian crisis in Liberia,” Nyenswah told Reuters by telephone. “People are being given care at their homes until we can move them to the new unit.”

Nyenswah said the suspected patients were being treated by trained medical staff with full protective gear, but it would take at least 24-36 hours to build the new unit.

Source: Reuters (link opens in a new window)

Health Care
governance, infectious diseases, public health