CDC Doctor Shares Stories of Fighting Ebola Outbreak in Sierra Leone
A doctor who spent time treating Ebola patients in Africa sat down with Utah Department of Health Employees on Thursday to share her experiences.
Dr. Angela Dunn is an Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In October of 2014 she traveled to Sierra Leone for a month to work with communities exposed to the Ebola virus. Dunn says Ebola is devastating, but the recent African outbreak is the symptom of larger infrastructure issues plaguing Sierra Leone.
“In order to really contain Ebola you have to take suspect Ebola cases out of their villages and bring them to a treatment center. A lot of times we didn’t even have enough vehicles to go get the patients out of their villages. And if we did have vehicles we didn’t have fuel in order to operate those vehicles," Says Dunn. "Had those infrastructures been in place it would have been much easier to contain the outbreak early on.”
According to the Sierra Leone Ministry of Health and the CDC the number of new Ebola cases have declined to 100 per week. That’s down from last year when more than 500 new cases were occurring each week. Dunn says the decline in new cases doesn’t mean the outbreak is over.
“We’re still getting sporadic new Ebola cases which means we don’t know how they got it and that’s a sign that it’s still out of control. In order for us to really have it under control we have to have every new Ebola case be on a contact tracing list, meaning we know where they go it from and that patient has been isolated since the time of their symptoms," Says Dunn
Until the outbreak is contained the CDC will continue working with the government in Sierra Leone.