Sierra Leone Ebola ‘Lockdown’ Raises Concerns

Medecins Sans Frontieres medical staff wearing protective clothing treat the body of an Ebola victim at their facility in Sierra Leone's Kailahun district on Aug. 14, 2014.

A proposal by Sierra Leone officials to “lock down” its borders in an effort to contain the spread of Ebola may have the opposite effect as cases are concealed, health experts said Saturday, according to Reuters.

The government plans to order citizens not to leave the areas around their homes for three days starting Sept. 19 in an effort to prevent the spread of new infections and help health workers track down people suffering from the disease, the report says.


Theo Nichol, Sierra Leone's deputy information minister, said Saturday the three-day shutdown would make it easier for medical workers to trace suspected cases.

But one medical charity is not convinced. “It has been our experience that lockdowns and quarantines do not help control Ebola, as they end up driving people underground and jeopardizing the trust between people and health providers,” stated Medecins Sans Frontieres, a medical charity that has been helping fight the world's biggest outbreak of the disease across West Africa, according to Reuters.

Additionally, quarantine “leads to the concealment of potential cases and ends up spreading the disease further,” the group said, Reuters reports.

Identified in March in Guinea, the Ebola outbreak has since spread across much of Liberia and Sierra Leone. Cases have also been recorded in Nigeria and Senegal, and the World Health Organization says more than 2,100 people have died, the report says.

More than six months into the crisis, tenuous government health systems are still failing to conquer the disease, one of the deadliest on the planet, the news organization writes.

Read more at the Huffington Post.

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