Fred Hartman Reports from Front Lines of Ebola Response in Liberia

Fred Hartman Reports from Front Lines of Ebola Response in Liberia

{Photo credit Ian Sliney/MSH}Photo credit Ian Sliney/MSH

Dr. Fred Hartman is in Liberia with the MSH Ebola response team; he shared some of what he's seen with the Boston Herald.

There isn’t the panic there was at the beginning, but the cases continue to rise. The paradox is that everything on the surface feels normal, but in the neighborhoods this infection is still blazing away and people are still dying of it....

It’s a new norm. By nature, Liberians are ebullient people. They like to laugh and hug and shake hands and touch. But there’s not as much laughter, and there’s no shaking hands. And there’s certainly no hugging....

You can’t control the disease until you detect and isolate every single case. That’s why we’re opening up these centers.

An Ebola treatment center that we just visited was in Bomi County, built earlier this year by the local hospital. It’s just cinder blocks and a tin roof. It’s surrounded by a wooden fence. The fence is maybe 4 feet high. When you stand outside the fence, you can look in and see the treatment center and the people, sometimes sitting in the shade to cool down. The tin roof housing must be pretty hot in the Liberian sun....

We’re opening community care centers so that patients with a fever and who are presenting with symptoms can go to a smaller treatment unit close by, instead of going to some of the larger centers farther away. We believe a lot of people are still staying at home.... 

 Read the full story at the Boston Herald.

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