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The latest statistics say that the death toll from the Ebola epidemic is approaching 5,000 cases according to the data of World Health Organisation, despite the global initiative taken to curb its spread. According to the UN the official toll in the worst hit countries of West Africa raised to 4,950 out of 13,241 recorded cases.
With efforts from around the world and medical attention incidences of Ebola was declining in some districts in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, while there is a steep rise persisting in other districts, Who said in an official statement. It is crucial to gear up defenses in the neighboring three countries to limit its outspread. (Read: Ebola virus is mutating rapidly say scientists)
Nigeria and Senegal stamped out outbreaks, while Mali recorded one case. WHO said two-thirds of new cases in the past three weeks were in Sierra Leone alone.
Maintaining burial protocol can help prevent the virus
Recently it was noticed that proper burial attributed a slowdown in Liberia's Ebola outbreak and in Sierra Leone the numbers kept on increasing a contrast in how the two countries were dealing with burials. The scariest part is the Ebola victims are most infectious right after death, which means traditional West African funerals, where families often touch the bodies, can cause the disease to spread rapidly.
According to Pierre Formenty, the leader of the WHO's Emerging and Epidemic Zoonotic Diseases team, major efforts had been undertaken to make funerals safe, with more attention paid initially to Liberia than Sierra Leone. So that Liberia can still ensure lesser number of victims with the ongoing practice. (Read: How the Ebola virus spreads in humans)
The Red Cross, which was leading the campaign for risk-free funerals, conducted more than 2,200 burials in Liberia, but only 909 in Sierra Leone. In Liberia's capital city Monrovia, the delay between death and burial has been reduced from three days to less than 24 hours, meaning there is much less time for exposed bodies to infect anyone.
However, it has proved more difficult to spread the notion of safe funerals in areas of Sierra Leone, where the disease is still rampant. The important role of burials in stopping the spread of Ebola was shown by the case of a traditional healer who died in Sierra Leone early in the outbreak.
WHO tracked down funeral participation of 365 cases of Ebola to reach to the conclusion. The international health body published a protocol to guide burial teams on how to conduct safe and dignified burials, with a 12-point plan that included guidance on how to put a corpse into a body bag and sanitise the family environment afterwards. (Read: Ebola facts frequently asked questions (FAQ))
US amplifies production of protective gear
The United States Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is increasing its national stockpile of protective gear for US hospitals handling Ebola patients after a sudden increase in demand.
Some US orders of protective equipment have been backlogged amid growing domestic demand, as manufacturers prioritise a flood of requests from aid agencies trying to curb the outbreak in West Africa. The CDC tightened its guidelines for people handling Ebola patients in October, requiring a fluid-resistant gown, gloves, a hood, shoe coverings and a face mask. The Ebola virus is not airborne, but is spread through direct contact with bodily fluids such as sweat or blood. (Read: 8 Facts about Ebola you must know)
Image source: Getty Images
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