Bodies of Ebola victims found piled up in Sierra Leone hospital
Health officials in Sierra Leone fear a major Ebola outbreak may have gone largely unreported until now in a remote district where the World Health Organization (WHO) said scores of bodies piled up in a hospital.
The WHO said on Wednesday that it had sent a response team to the diamond-rich Kono district following a worrying spike in reported Ebola cases in the district, which lies along the country’s eastern border with Guinea.
“They uncovered a grim scene,” the U.N. health agency said in a statement. “In 11 days, two teams buried 87 bodies, including a nurse, an ambulance driver, and a janitor drafted into removing bodies as they piled up.”
Twenty-five people had died in a hastily cordoned off section of the local hospital in the five days before the team arrived. They found that villages scattered across eight of the area’s 15 chiefdoms had been hit by Ebola.
Officially the district of over 350,000 inhabitants had reported 119 cases up to Dec. 9.
“We are only seeing the ears of the hippo,” said Dr. Amara Jambai, Sierra Leone’s Director of Disease Prevention and Control, expressing concern that the official figures underrepresented the size of the outbreak in Kono.
The worst Ebola epidemic on record has killed 6,388 people out of 17,942 cases in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone according to WHO data. (read more)