Thanks to Lucie Lecomte for sending the link to this Bloomberg report: Sierra Leone’s Ebola Burial Teams Struggle as Bodies Decompose. Excerpt:
Ebola burial teams in Sierra Leone can’t keep up with the rising number of dead, and some bodies are left to decompose at home for days as test results for the virus are slow to arrive.
“We are overwhelmed as we bury between 20 to 30 corpses a day,” Sas Kargbo, head coordinator for Sierra Leone’s burial teams, said in an interview in the capital, Freetown. “We want capacity to determine the cause of death in 24 hours so that those who did not die of Ebola will be buried with dignity.”
President Ernest Bai Koroma on Aug. 7 ordered that corpses can’t be buried without the Ministry of Health’s authorization. The measure was meant to stop the virus from spreading by preventing people from organizing funerals for relatives. The virus is spread through direct contact with bodily fluids from an infected patient, including a deceased person, according to the World Health Organization.
Almost 500 people have died of Ebola in Sierra Leone, while more than 1,500 people have contracted the disease, the Ministry of Health said in a Sept. 15 statement. Local funeral practices have contributed to the spread of the virus in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia. The epidemic has killed about half of the 5,000 people who’ve been infected, and the WHO has warned that infections may not have peaked.