The current epidemic has been called the worst in history. Scores of West Africans are dying everyday. Yet, some skeptical Sierra Leoneans still don’t believe that the virus exists.
Citizens doubt the legitimacy of the virus even as doctors scramble to rest infected patients and health officials have declared that Sierra Leon is one of the most highly affected countries in West Africa. President Ernest Bai Koroma has ordered new measures to quarantine homes and areas where Ebola has been affected, especially the East region of Sierra Leon.
“This is a collective fight. The very essence of our nation is at stake,” Koroma said in a televised address in which he declared a “stay at home day” to bolster the nation’s response to the deadly virus. Koroma has also deployed over 750 troops to the center of the ebola outbreaks, outside hospitals and family homes, in order to implement new quarantine procedures.
“In this fight every individual counts, for if every individual or family, community or town fails to act, the risk is increased for the whole nation.” Koroma added, emphasizing the importance of awareness and action of the epidemic.
“I do not believe that Ebola exists because none of my family members have been affected by it,” a streetwalker in Sierra Leon told NPR. “When people get sick from Cholera, they say its Ebola, when you’re body temperature rises, they say it’s Ebola. So, I do not honestly believe that Ebola exists. There may be a lot of other illnesses killing people.”
Others believe that the current endemic is all part of a government scam.
“There is no Ebola. It’s a scam by the government to get more foreign aid money,” a Sierra Leonian man told Newsweek. “It’s one family that was cursed. A snake bit them all as they slept.”
It seems that it should be easier to convince people in he country that Ebola actually does exists. Posters line the streets of the capital, Freetown, reading, “Ebola is Real. Ebola is Here. Ebola Kills.”
Researchers claim that the current outbreak is a world record, with over 932 people already dead and the disease already spreading to four continents. There is no cure for the disease, which has a fatality rate of 90 percent. The current strain has a fatality rate of about 60 percent, thus far.