Via the National Post: Aid urgently needed for deadly Ebola outbreak: Canadian doctor. Excerpt:
The response to West Africa’s Ebola outbreak has been “suboptimal,” says a Canadian doctor who recently returned from Guinea, adding more outside aid is urgently needed to help treat the fast-spreading and virulent disease.
The World Health Organization says the outbreak is the largest ever recorded — more than 670 people in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone have died since it began this year. There is no cure and Ebola kills 90% of those it infects, depending on the strain; the current outbreak is killing about 70%.
Symptoms include fever, severe weakness and muscle pain and headache, which leads to vomiting and diarrhea.
“On the clinical side, the disease is not exactly what we’ve seen in the movies. It’s not a spectacular disease. Most patients have very common symptoms that you can relate to,” said Dr. Marc Forget, 45, a general practitioner from Montreal who spent more than six weeks in the field.
“There is nothing specific to Ebola and that’s what makes it even more difficult to fight because people don’t think they have Ebola at first. Even when Ebola strikes, they think it’s probably just malaria and then they get sicker and sicker.”
Dr. Forget was working in Gueckedou, a forest region on the borders of Liberia and Sierra Leone, part of a mission organized by Médecins Sans Frontières.
Although he has 12 years experience working for the MSF, including stints in South Sudan and Haiti, this was his first encounter with Ebola, trying to ensure the disease didn’t spread to relatives of infected patients.
“A lot of the work was explaining what we’re doing … explaining why we isolated [family members] and everything,” said Dr. Forget.
Many people were in denial about the disease and blamed MSF workers for it.
“[They] associated the coming of NGOs and expats and WHO workers with the Ebola outbreak,” he said. “They kind of made the conclusion that we brought [Ebola].”