Ebola spreads to Grand Gedeh County

The Ebola epidemic continues to increase exponentially in Lofa County in northeastern Liberia, southeast Sierra Leone, and the Guédékou area of Guinea (where Patient Zero died in December 2013. This heavily hit region is home to the Kissi, Northern Kono, Loma (Toma), Kpelle (Guerzé), Gbandi, and Belle (Kuwaa). It has spread outward, infecting the Kru, Sherbro, Malinke and Temne, Krio and other groups.

Unless something drastically changes in current containment efforts, the CDC predicts 1.4 million cases by January.

One German epidemiologist stated that Ebola will only stop in Liberia when everyone has been infected and almost half the population—about 5 million people— have died.

So far, Côte d’Ivoire has been spared, due in part by their early closure of all border crossings with Liberia. I expect that it won’t be long before someone swims or otherwise makes it into onto Ivorian soil, as we saw during the conflicts in the 1990s, spreading the virus.

As was unfortunately expected, Grand Gedeh County, home of the Liberian Kran and Sapo, just reported its first case of Ebola.

Chris Nyenapee, reporting for AllAfrica, stated that a 35-year-old man in Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County, tested positive, making it the first case in the county since the outbreak of the disease in the country in March. He was showing signs and symptoms of the disease when the Grand Gedeh County Health Team (CHT) picked him up from the Zwedru Central Market last Friday. One must assume that he had made several direct contacts since he became infectious, and the job now is to trace them and isolate them for the usual 21-day quarantine period. Zwedru

The patient apparently migrated from Ganta, Nimba County (Mano country, the site of George Harley’s pioneering work on the Poro and his clinic in the first half of the 20th century) to Grand Gedeh County following the death of nine of his family members from the disease early this month.

The man was transported to Gbarnga, Bong County for treatment when they observed that he was showing signs and symptoms of the virus, adding that he later tested positive for the disease.

Should Ebola make a foothold in Zwedru, crossing the nearby Cavalla River into Côte d’Ivoire is not unlikely, and would infect the Guéré (Ivorian Kran).

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