Via The Washington Post: Birthplace of Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone. This is a collection of beautiful, powerful photos. The introductory text:
The epicenter of the Ebola crisis in Sierra Leone sits in the rural Kailahun district. Nearly half of the country’s Ebola cases have been found there. The province shares a border with Guinea and Liberia, the two other nations hardest hit by the worst Ebola outbreak in history.
In Kailahun, the aid group Doctors Without Borders has established a treatment center with more than 80 beds. Caring for Ebola patients is difficult, stressful work. The virus spreads by contact with bodily fluids, such as blood, urine and sweat. So medical staff must wear specialized protective gear that covers them head to toe. Everything is washed down with chlorinated water, as disinfection is a major concern. There is no cure for Ebola, and survival rates hover around 50 percent.
Staff must not only care for patients, but they must carefully bury the dead. Traditional practices require family members to wash the body and touch it before burial. But someone who has died from Ebola is especially contagious. The virus is literally spilling out of their skin.
Many infections are blamed on burial practices. So Red Cross teams have been tasked with retrieving the bodies of people even suspected of having the disease. More than 240 health-care workers have been infected by Ebola during the West African outbreak.
“The emotional burden of doing this is high,” said Walter Lorenzi, head of mission for Doctor Without Borders in Sierra Leone. “The stress, sometimes, can be too much.”