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Saturday, August 16, 2014

Ebola survivors often shunned

Ebola Virus     (CDC photo)
For those fortunate enough to survive Ebola, the aftermath can be almost as challenging.

Reminiscent of the days when AIDS was new to many, a combination of ignorance and fear (rather than love and compassion) seems to be ruling society’s response to Ebola survivors.

The Conakry, Guinea Associated Press reports on the case of 26-year-old Kadiatou Fanta. Although she has now been given a clean bill of health, Fanta laments:  No one wants to spend a minute in my company for fear of being contaminated.

Not only has her boyfriend refused to spend time with her, but even her medical-school instructors no longer want her in their classrooms.  Fanta has been told that she can now be “graded by telephone.”

If even medical instructors are this prejudiced against Ebola survivors, what are the chances of the average person befriending them?

It seems that a health-education campaign is warranted, and the sooner the better.  The public needs to be reassured that “the Ebola virus is only transmitted through direct contact with bodily fluids of the sick, such as blood, saliva, urine, sweat or semen.”  The public also needs to be instructed that survivors with a clean bill of health are no longer in the contagious stages of the disease.

Copyright August 16, 2014 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

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