Via NPR's Goats and Soda blog: 3 Years After The Ebola Pandemic: A Family Of 7 Who Defied The Odds And Survived. Excerpt:
The Ebola crisis in Liberia is officially over. But scars remain. Liberia's economy is only beginning to recover from damage suffered during the outbreak, and across the country survivors of the virus continue to mourn members of their family who died of the disease. According to the World Health Organization, of the 10,666 people confirmed to have come down with Ebola during the outbreak, only 45 percent survived.
For Reuben Shellu and his family, that grim statistic is a reminder of their nearly miraculous good fortune. Reuben, his wife and their five children walked into treatment at ELWA2 in late August 2014. Beating overwhelming odds, less than a month later all seven walked out, healthy and alive.
"With God's help, we made it," says Reuben, sitting in the courtyard of the mud-brick home where he and his family live at the edge of Monrovia, near the ruins of a luxury hotel destroyed during the country's civil war. "So we can overcome anything."
The Shellu family's ordeal began around the same time that Liberia's Ebola crisis was spinning out of control. In late July, Reuben's younger brother fell ill, showing up at the Shellu home with red eyes and stomach cramps. He was a medical technician at a nearby clinic, and his supervisor, a well-regarded doctor, had died earlier that week of what would later be confirmed to be Ebola.
Reuben and his family took pity on his brother, allowing him to sleep in their bedroom. When he became sicker, Reuben's wife, Bindu, cleaned his vomit and bathed his forehead with cool water.
Reuben had heard rumors about Ebola but didn't believe they were true, so he brought his brother, now too weak to talk, to their father's house to receive treatment from a local healer. Hours later, Reuben received a call. His brother was dead.
The news scared Reuben, shocking him into giving a second thought to the radio jingles he'd heard about the threat of Ebola.
"I called my wife and explained the situation," he recalls. "I said the kids shouldn't come close to me. We didn't know that the virus was already in us."