Fear, Superstition Causing Ebola Virus Outbreak In Ghana To Get Even Worse

The infected are refusing medical care, believing that going to a hospital is a death sentence. Panicked villagers are cutting off their communities from aid workers, driving away health professionals with weapons and even deliberately downing bridges. And relatives mourn the dead by embracing their bodies — a custom among certain West African peoples.

The West Africa Ebola Virus Outbreak of 2014 is getting worse, largely thanks to mis-information, fear, and local traditions, according to The Huffington Post. And now the disease that has already claimed over 500 lives is heading towards Techiman, a market city in Ghana where travelers and traders from all over West Africa converge.

According to an editorial in Ghana Web (translated from French):

“Due to the influx of people from all walks of life to the Techiman Market, the Ebola Virus is likely to appear in Techiman if preventative measures are not taken. It’s important that all conscientious Ghanians join in fighting against the virus.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Ebola Virus causes Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever — a disease that causes the victim to bleed through the ears and nose. Researchers believe the Ebola virus appears in humans when a person comes into contact with an infected animal. From there, the virus spreads through contact with the sick person or his body (particularly through blood), or through contact via contaminated objects, such as needles.

Related: ‘Drastic Action Is Needed’, Declares WHO Declares As West Africa Faces Deadliest Ebola Outbreak To Date (Inquisitr)

Although the disease is generally fatal (killing up to 90 percent of patients), it is treatable if caught early. In fact, the Thomas Reuters Foundation reports that at one hospital in Telimele (a town in nearby Guinea), the recovery rate is 75 percent. Comparatively, over in Gueckedou (a town further south in Guinea), only 2 out of 10 have survived.

Instead, health officials prefer to focus on preventative measures to control the spread of the Ebola virus. Most importantly, this includes placing the infected under quarantine. Unfortunately, this has proven difficult in some communities in West Africa, where fear and superstition rule. As CTV News reports:

“Preachers are calling for divine intervention, and panicked residents in remote areas have on multiple occasions attacked the very health workers sent to help them. In one town in Sierra Leone, residents partially burned down a treatment centre over fears that the drugs given to victims were actually causing the disease.”

The Ebola Virus is highly unlikely to come to the United States, according to Fox News. Here, healthcare workers are trained to spot signs and symptoms of the virus quickly. If an infected patient did arrive, he or she would quickly be quarantined, containing the virus to the original patient.

[Image source: U.N.]