News / Africa

WHO: Traditional Burials Hamper Ebola Fight

FILE - Health workers carry the body of an Ebola virus victim in Kenema, Sierra Leone, June 25, 2014.
FILE - Health workers carry the body of an Ebola virus victim in Kenema, Sierra Leone, June 25, 2014.
Pamela Dockins

World Health Organization officials say traditional burial practices are among the obstacles that are making it difficult to control the worst Ebola outbreak in West Africa's history.

WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said health and relief workers have been trying to educate families in the affected region about how to bury their loved ones without exposing themselves to the virus.

He said people who touch the dead could be putting themselves at risk.

"At the moment when a person died from Ebola, this is the moment when the person is the most infectious and when the viral load is the highest," he said.

Dangerous practice

Jasarevic has been working with local officials in Guinea and Sierra Leone. In many cultures, he said, families wash the bodies of their loved ones before burial, but this practice is dangerous for Ebola victims because of the presence of bodily fluids.

"Usually there is the point just before the death, there is bleeding," he said.

Jasarevic also said their could be vomit or diarrhea.

Ebola cases and deaths, as of July 27, 2014Ebola cases and deaths, as of July 27, 2014
Ebola cases and deaths, as of July 27, 2014
Ebola cases and deaths, as of July 27, 2014

Peter Schleicher, a Red Cross operations manager in Liberia, said another obstacle for relief workers in affected communities is fear, explaining that people in some communities have prevented trained health professionals from safely burying Ebola victims.

"We got a report back from one of our teams in the field that they have now been blocked by the angry community and they have been denied access," he said.

Schleicher said the team members were told to turn back to keep from putting themselves at risk.

He said relief workers have been trying to alleviate fears and inform communities that Ebola victims can be safely buried by trained specialists, who take extra precautions.

"The body will be disinfected and then be put into one body bag and disinfected again," he said.

"And this body bag will be put into the outer body bag. So actually, one body will be using two body bags," said Schleicher.

He said relief workers are sensitive to fears and burial traditions. But they have been trying to persuade communities to heed their advice, and allow trained specialists to handle the bodies of Ebola victims.

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Comment Sorting
by: eusebio manuel vestias from: Portugal
August 04, 2014 3:54 PM
God Bless people of the affected regions of the outbreak of Ebola

by: Dr. Quay from: USA
August 02, 2014 9:55 PM
People, yet another ORCHESTRATED FALSE FLAG, to bring fear and hysteria to the country. This was done ON PURPOSE, government creates the crises then presents themselves as the answer. Cloward and Piven. It is completely unprecedented for any government to take in a person affected with a contagious disease unknown to that country.

However, both the United States and Germany have now brought Ebola patients inside their countries, and the patient brought to the U.S. was admitted to a hospital with only moderate security, making it easier for Ebola to spread outside the medical facility.

The U.S. government and its political system could not care less about the health of individual Americans, and to bring Ebola into America is a disaster in the making of which only the government will benefit through its power grab in response to the health crisis it created. I work at the hospital, I know the story!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
In Response

by: Betty Condon from: USA
August 03, 2014 11:30 AM
Marsha, perhaps if you watched INFOWARS.COM it would help you to pull your head out of the sand.
In Response

by: Marsha from: USA
August 02, 2014 10:58 PM
Apparently "Dr. Quay" you do not know what you are talking about perhaps you should steer your comments to the CDC (?) They have keep us all informed of the situation in West Africa. Too many small minded people in this world and None are willing to help another human. I may not be medically qualified in the field of medicine but I am however qualified in a field of compassion.. I am quite certain the CDC and Other ie governments know long before we do what's going on but I am quite sure "Many People " should at the very least trust the CDC People. When was the last time a patient didn't trust you IF you are a doctor?

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