The situation in Sierra Leone appears to be getting worse, with the country reporting 121 Ebola deaths in a single day.
ITV reports that Sierra Leone recorded 121 deaths from Ebola and scores of new infections in one of the single deadliest days since the disease appeared in the West African country more than four months ago, government health statistics showed on Sunday. The figures, which covered the period through Saturday, put the total number of deaths at 678, up from 557 the day before. The daily statistics compiled by Sierra Leone’s Emergency Operations Centre also showed 81 new cases of the hemorrhagic fever.
According to Reuters, this is the worst Ebola epidemic the world has experienced. Ebola was identified in 1976, and has only been seen in small outbreaks prior to the most recent epidemic. Nigeria and Senegal had seen small portions of the country with the disease, but it was brought under control.
The World Health Organization notes that the overall death toll from the epidemic reached 3,439 out of a total of 7,491 cases in West Africa, and 1 case has been reported in the US. With the epidemic increasing, countries around the world are sending aid to the West African region. The United States is deploying around 4,000 military personnel to the region to support efforts to combat the outbreak in Liberia, the country worst hit by the disease, but Sierra Leone appears to be worsening at a rapid rate.
The United States isn’t the only country sending aid; Britain and China have both sent personnel to Sierra Leone. Even Cuba dispatched a 165-member medical team, including specialists and nurses, to Sierra Leone last week. However, with the case of Ebola that appeared in Dallas, Texas, from a Liberian national traveling to visit family, many are wondering how well the U.S. is prepared to handle such a contagious and deadly disease.
It isn’t just the general public worried about the potential for an outbreak. American nurses say that they are untrained and unprepared to handle patients suffering from Ebola in emergency rooms across the country. Some of them have gone to their bosses, asking for more training and information on how to protect their families from developing the deadly disease.
Though the nurses don’t feel fully prepared to handle an epidemic, the U.S. State Department seems to be preparing for the worst, should an outbreak occur. The U.S. government purchased 160,000 Ebola hazmat suits, according to a press release by the suits manufacturers.