Last Monday, A two year old girl travelling with her grandmother fell ill with a terrible fever and a nose bleed. On Tuesday. she was taken to a hospital where she was given paracetemol, but didn't improve. On Thursday, the laboratory results came back. She tested positive for Ebola. She's dead now.
How did this child get Ebola ?
The girl and her grandmother had recently returned from visiting a funeral in Kissidougou. If that name sounds familiar to you, it may be because I mentioned it in my Gigantic Ebola FAQ, as of the first Ebola outbreak clusters. In fact, the event that started that particular cluster was (you guessed it!) a funeral.
So you can sort of make an educated guess as to where this girl caught Ebola.
But that isn't the worst part. This girl had developed symptoms whilst in Guinea. So when they went back home to Mali using a series of buses on public transport within the country, and potentially infected everyone they met.
The WHO needs to act quickly. Everyone that girl and her grandmother interacted with needs to be found and tested and quarantined, ideally before anyone shows symptoms. They have identified 43 close contacts so far, including 10 healthcare workers who are now in isolation.
They also need to get information out to communities, and get ahead of the panic and misinformation that has so crippled the response in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. They managed to do this effectively in Nigeria and Senegal, so it could work here.
I usually end all my posts about Ebola with a call to action, but I think the best thing I can do for you is to point you to one of the best resources about this Ebola outbreak. Ian M Mackay has some excellent explainers on the topic on the Virology Down Under blog, and made the graph shown up at the top of this article.
I will leave you with some of his words regarding this outbreak:
If you are not doing your damnedest to insist that your country has put people and equipment on the ground in Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea, then you do a disservice to humanity, and on your shoulders be the burden of the many deaths to come.
We individual citizens can't do this. You and our governments can.
Complain about and hide behind who didn't react fast enough if you must, but do be very, very clear in your own mind that now, right this minute, if you are not acting, calling someone, pleading a humanitarian case, then it is you and those like you who are to blame for some of our global villages burning out of control.
I don't care a damn if the currency for today's political action is "security" - you find a way to bring it back to being about humanity.
We live in an interconnected world and some of those country's citizens are your constituents.
The global calls have gone out, the Resolution has been passed, the pleas have been made, the situation is clear to all. And you are failing.
Get up and do something. Now.
Places to Donate
Opportunities to Volunteer
Perhaps if you're the kind of person with the skills and expertise to help fight this outbreak, there are volunteering opportunities. These exist.
If you're the type to put your life on the line to help stop this outbreak, then I would ask that you still think twice before clicking.