Sierra Leone Ebola patient, recovered from family, dies in ambulance

FREETOWN Sun Jul 27, 2014 5:31pm EDT

Health workers take blood samples for Ebola virus testing at a screening tent in the local government hospital in Kenema, Sierra Leone, June 30, 2014. REUTERS/Tommy Trenchard

Health workers take blood samples for Ebola virus testing at a screening tent in the local government hospital in Kenema, Sierra Leone, June 30, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Tommy Trenchard

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FREETOWN (Reuters) - A Sierra Leone Ebola patient whose family sparked a nationwide hunt when they forcefully removed her from a treatment center and took her to a traditional healer, died in an ambulance on the way to hospital, a health official said.

Health officials say fear and mistrust of health workers in Sierra Leone, where many have more faith in traditional medicine, are hindering efforts to contain an Ebola outbreak that has killed more than 450 people in the country.

In recent days crowds gathered outside clinics and hospitals to protest against what they see as a conspiracy, in some cases clashing with police as they threatened to burn down the buildings and remove the patients.

Amadu Sisi, a senior doctor at King Harman hospital in the capital Freetown, from which the patient was taken, said on Saturday that police found her in the house of a healer.

Her family refused to hand her over and a struggle ensued with police, who finally retrieved her and sent her to hospital, he said.

"She died in the ambulance on the way to another hospital," Sisi said.

Across Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, at least 660 people have died from the worst outbreak yet of the hemorrhagic fever, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said, placing great strain on the health systems of some of Africa's poorest countries.

The virus is still spreading. A 33-year-old American doctor working for relief organization Samaritan's Purse in Liberia tested positive for the disease on Saturday. The charity said on Sunday a second American, whom it named as Nancy Writebol, had also tested positive.

She was helping a team treating Ebola patients at a case management center in Monrovia, it said.

In Lagos, Nigeria's commercial capital, a Liberian man who tested positive died in on Friday.

West African health officials say the deep cultural suspicions mean relatives in some countries will continue to try to remove sick patients from hospitals and carry out traditional funerals, which often involve the manual washing of the body, instead of allowing the authorities to bury them.


Sierra Leone now has the highest number of Ebola cases, at 454, surpassing neighboring Guinea where the outbreak originated in February.

Police were guarding the country's main Ebola hospital in Kenema in the West African country's remote east on Saturday, where dozens are receiving treatment for the virus.

Thousands had gathered outside the clinic the day before, threatening to burn it down and remove the patients. Residents said police fired tear gas to disperse the crowds and that a 9-year-old boy was shot in the leg by a police bullet.

The protest was sparked by a former nurse who had told a crowd at a nearby fish market that "Ebola was unreal and a gimmick aimed at carrying out cannibalistic rituals".

Samaritan’s Purse, which is leading treatment of Ebola patients in Liberia, said on Sunday it will end its outreach in Lofa, a community in the north, after an attack on a team of health workers who came to collect the body of a person who was suspected of dying from the disease.

The organization’s outreach team until now has transported suspected patients between villages and clinics and also bodies of Ebola victims.

A nearby community from which it was going to collect a body put up a roadblock, attacked the ambulance and broke the windshield and tore up the tires with a machete, according to the group's country director Kendell Kauffeldt.

"We will continue to manage the center up there, but we will stop outreach, we will not go into communities to retrieve bodies or patients at this point," he said. "We will continue to accept patients to the center. We just cannot afford to put ourselves at that risk at this point."

Ebola can kill up to 90 percent of those who catch it, although the fatality rate of the current outbreak is around 60 percent. Highly contagious, especially in the late stages, its symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea as well as internal and external bleeding.

(Additional reporting by Clair MacDougall in Monrovia, Adam Bailes in Freetown and Tom Miles in Geneva; Writing by Bate Felix; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky, David Evans and Eric Walsh)

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Comments (3)
MisterK wrote:
Unfortunately, this is what happens when your culture is governed by religious superstition. Science takes a back seat to belief, ignorance, and demagoguery.

Jul 27, 2014 7:38pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
GalacticCat wrote:
Look people If the Jews can blockade the palestinians in Gaza, Then why can’t the Africans blockade their tribal peoples from leaving Africa. I don’t want to get Ebola and die, neither do my friends of family.

Jul 27, 2014 8:42pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
The people who have been studying Ebola are M.D.s not research laboratory technicians. they are not research specialists. it is obvious that they have missed the fact that Ebola is coming from conditions that are prone to have serious fungal infections and conditions that can cause a variety of invasive conditions from sporulation inspiration, to consumption, etc.

When you look at the EM photographs of Ebola it shows distinct fungal growth invasion of tissues.
I do not believe anyone has ever plated these out for fungus or fungal infections because it looks distinctly like fungus.

Fungus has many forms that are very deadly. The most important thing is to place victims in negative air pressure conditions and rooms. To not enter the rooms without total biohazard and respiratory protection with something this invasive and deadly.

Common aspects of fungal invasion are high fevers, brain infections, blood invasion etc.
It is common in very arid regions of the world for very deadly fungus to exist and be inhaled such as in desert conditions.

Most people do not have resistance to most fungus types. Most curatives are almost as deadly as the fungus itself.

The Chinese medical system has found a large number of natural alternative curatives that have shown to be very effective against fungal invasions and are less damaging to the human who has contracted it.

Feeces are very infective and should be treated as biohazards as they are filled with spores from fungus.

A case where a person became infected handing feeces of an Ebola victim was treated with immunoglobulins which have been shown to help fight fungal infections.

M.D’s are not researchers they are physicians. This has been assumed to be a virus because it does not respond to antibiotics. The treatment was done in the field where laboratory analysis was not available. Obviously no plating for fungus was done by a rare and difficult to find Mycobiologist.

I trained in research for a time under a Military retired Mycobiologist. Very rare person

I have been telling people for years a M.D. is not a PhD they are a medical physician with a Masters Degree not in research. And everyone ignores me. This has obviously not been plated out in fungal mediums, anaerobic culturing, CO2 chambers etc.

Missing fungus is very common because there are very few specialists in Mycobiology for one reason is because it can be very deadly working with it.

The diamond caves where it was first found to be happening in Africa are the perfect environment for growing pathogenic forms of fungus. The fact that Ebola has been found also in South America in places where Bats defecate in rivers indicates it is a common cave fungus obviously very deadly and lethal. And people go walking through caves to see cave bats obviously not a good idea.

Aug 01, 2014 1:08am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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