Ebola cases plummet in Liberian hot spot as aid groups gain trust

Saturday, November 15, 2014
By Paul Martin

Friday, November 14, 2014

The number of new Ebola patients has fallen to practically zero in one of Liberia’s hardest-hit areas because aid workers gained the trust of the community so the sick were treated quickly and the dead were buried safely, according to a report released yesterday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In a separate development, a Maryland surgeon working in Sierra Leone has been diagnosed with Ebola. The plan is to fly him to the United States for treatment at the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, Neb., today, according to an administration official.

The surgeon, Martin Salia, 44, is a Sierra Leone citizen and a legal permanent U.S. resident who lives in Maryland. He will be the third Ebola patient at the Omaha hospital, which has a special isolation unit, and the 10th person with Ebola to be treated in the United States. On Tuesday, Craig Spencer was released from a New York hospital.

The CDC report said that the strategy put in place in Lofa County by Doctors Without Borders has been so effective that it could serve “as a model to implement in other affected areas to accelerate control of Ebola.” Liberia’s epidemic began in Lofa County, which borders Guinea and Sierra Leone.

The measures are aimed at reducing fear of everything associated with the disease, from the health care workers, who looked like astronauts in their protective gear, to the way treatment facilities are designed.

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