JUN 29, 2019 7:27 AM PDT

Rumors Disrupt Efforts To Control Ebola Outbreak

WRITTEN BY: Abbie Arce

In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), there is some doubt that Ebola is a real disease. Locals sometimes claim the illness was “brought in by white people” as was stated by Florida Kayindo, a 36-year-old who eventually contract and the sickness herself. Even now, after having survived infection, she still questions her understanding of the disease. Many believe the virus is spread through food or water, but scientists know the illness is spread through contact with the bodily fluids of infected persons or bats. 

Now, during the second largest Ebola outbreak in history, misinformation is the main contributor to difficulties in containment. Skepticism from locals about the nature of the disease creates tension between the Congolese and health workers, whose containment efforts put them at risk. Some believe their own government is spreading the virus for political gain. Others believe that international aid organizations are to blame, killing people deliberately in treatment centers.

The distrust of relief organizations makes it incredibly difficult to slow the use of traditional burial methods. These burials often require complete removal of waste products from the body, often done by hand. Because the virus is spread through contact with bodily fluids of the infected, these traditions are infection Ground Zero for many Congolese families. 

The fight against Ebola in the DRC is dangerous work. Dozens of people have been killed in more than 130 attacks on Ebola response facilities. While attacks on healthcare facilities involved in the fight against the disease continue, relief workers are attempting to build trust amongst the locals. One way they have attempted this was by switching to clear body bags. This allows families of the dead a more agreeable opportunity to say goodbye to loved ones. It also helps dispel the myth that the organs of Ebola patients are being harvested. 

Traditional healers, who are more trusted in Congress culture, are also being brought into the response. Although some of them believe they can heal Ebola through traditional methods, others are helping to identify new cases so they may be contained as soon as possible. Additionally, as frontline workers in the oval response, these healers become eligible for vaccinations related to the disease. 

 

Sources: Emergency Response Coordination CentreThe Daily Conversation

About the Author
  • Abbie is an AFAA certified personal trainer and fitness instructor with an interest in all things health-science. She has recently graduated with her BS in Applied Sport and Exercise Science from Barry University in Miami. Next, she intends to earn an MPH with a focus in Epidemiology.
You May Also Like
SEP 02, 2021
Immunology
Hobit Activates Cancer-Killing Immune Cells
SEP 02, 2021
Hobit Activates Cancer-Killing Immune Cells
Innate lymphoid cells, or ILCs, are specialized immune cells that are increasingly entering the research spotlight. Thes ...
SEP 03, 2021
Cell & Molecular Biology
Is a Venom-Like Molecule Involved in COVID-19 Mortality?
SEP 03, 2021
Is a Venom-Like Molecule Involved in COVID-19 Mortality?
Scientists have sought to learn more about why some people get severe COVID-19 while others have only mild cases. We kno ...
SEP 13, 2021
Health & Medicine
How Farming Shaped the Immune System
SEP 13, 2021
How Farming Shaped the Immune System
In today's society, a rural upbringing is associated with a healthier immune system less prone to allergies and auto ...
SEP 14, 2021
Health & Medicine
A lower sodium diet decreases the chance of stroke and other heart disease
SEP 14, 2021
A lower sodium diet decreases the chance of stroke and other heart disease
A new study found that using a low salt alternative lowered the risk of stroke and other heart disease
SEP 22, 2021
Cardiology
Towards a Gene Therapy for Heart Regeneration
SEP 22, 2021
Towards a Gene Therapy for Heart Regeneration
For years, researchers at the Texas Heart Institute have been investigating the natural biochemical processes related to ...
SEP 21, 2021
Genetics & Genomics
Skin Condition Linked to Sex Hormone Gene
SEP 21, 2021
Skin Condition Linked to Sex Hormone Gene
Eczema is a chronic, dry skin condition that affects millions of people. A form of the disorder called atopic dermatitis ...
Loading Comments...