August 7, 2014

WELL, THIS ISN’T PROMISING: Malaria Cases Mix With Ebola Amid ‘Slow Motion Disaster.’

As the death toll rises in West Africa amid the worst Ebola outbreak on record, a separate threat is compounding the problem: the rainy season and the malaria cases that come with it.

In Sierra Leone, with the most Ebola cases in the epidemic, a fearful population is failing to seek medical attention for any diseases, health officials say. If they have malaria, the feeling is they don’t want to go near a hospital with Ebola cases. If it’s Ebola, they don’t believe the hospitals can help them anyway.

It’s a widening problem complicated by the fact that Ebola, malaria and cholera share common symptoms early on, including fever and vomiting, which can cause confusion among patients, said Cyprien Fabre, head of the West Africa office of the European Commission’s humanitarian aid department.

“We now have increased mortality for these other diseases” as well, Fabre said by telephone from Freetown, the country’s capital, after visiting Ebola treatment centers in Kenema and Kailahun near the eastern border. “This is a slow-motion disaster.”

Ugh.

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