Although the number of cases are declining, Ebola is still a very real threat. Saturday saw 10 U.S. aid workers evacuated from the West African country of Sierra Leone due to fears they may have come in contact with the virus.
The New York Times reports that the group is the largest of its kind to be evacuated under the threat of possible contact with the virus since the outbreak began last year.
The aid workers were with Partners in Health, an American charity, and per Sheila Davis, who leads Ebola response efforts for the group, each of the staff had varying degrees of contact but no symptoms. The charity plans on continuing its work in Sierra Leone.
Though most of the aid workers did not show signs of the virus, a medical worker for Partners in Health was found to be infected with Ebola, and returned for treatment to the U.S. on Friday. Another staff member for the charity showed signs and symptoms of the virus, but upon returning home to the states she tested negative for Ebola twice. The aid worker, whose name is being withheld, was sent to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta for additional testing. Emory is one of the few hospitals in the U.S. that has a unit specifically set up for the treatment and care of Ebola patients.
Nearly 10,000 people have died since the start of the outbreak of Ebola. Three West African countries, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, have seen the most deaths, but only a handful of foreign aid workers have actually become infected with the virus, most of whom survived thanks to receiving proper treatment at western medical facilities.
An investigation is being conducted by the CDC into how the clinician became infected, and per the Huffington Post, more Americans could be evacuated if the virus poses a big enough threat. Those who were evacuated have been instructed to follow the CDC’s guidelines for monitoring and movement during the 21-day incubation stage. Should anyone show symptoms of the virus, they will be transported to an Ebola Treatment Facility for evaluation and treatment.
A spokesperson for the CDC, Benjamin Haynes, made it clear that while he is uncertain where the aid workers will be transported, the CDC is working with the U.S. State Department to determine where each of them will be sent.
The media attention regarding Ebola and its deadly effect on West Africa has seen a dramatic decline. In an opinion piece written by Inquisitr staff writer Nicole Tucker, concern and attention regarding the virus has been compared the to momentary frenzy over “what color was the dress,” as in here today, gone tomorrow.
The evacuated American aid workers assuredly hope that is not the case.