WHO has published a news release: Busting the myths about Ebola is crucial to stop the transmission of the virus disease in Guinea. Excerpt:
Will eating raw onions once a day for three days protect me from Ebola? Is it safe to eat mangoes? Is it true that a daily intake of condensed milk can prevent infection with Ebola?
These are just some of the questions posed to the health workers responding round the clock to calls received through the free Ebola hotline. With so many Ebola deaths to date, fear has allowed the spread of rumours and misinformation.
The Ministry of Health of Guinea set up Hotline 115 when it announced the country’s Ebola outbreak on 21 March. Its main goal is to respond to people’s concerns and to be able to quickly refer suspect cases to the isolation ward at Donka hospital in Conakry for further investigation. It currently receives between 200 and 300 calls per day.
“Some of the people who call the hotline are in panic and false rumours make it difficult to calm them down”, says Dr Saran Tata Camara, one of the doctors who takes the calls. “But if we tell them that it is not easy to contract Ebola and that they can protect themselves if they respect some rules, they often understand.”