Skip to main content

Borders closing over Ebola fears

By Jacque Wilson, CNN
updated 6:18 PM EDT, Fri August 22, 2014
Health workers in Monrovia, Liberia, move the body of a person who they suspect died from the Ebola virus on Tuesday, September 16. Health officials say the Ebola outbreak in West Africa is the deadliest ever. More than 4,700 cases have been reported since December, with more than 2,400 of them ending in fatalities, according to the World Health Organization. Health workers in Monrovia, Liberia, move the body of a person who they suspect died from the Ebola virus on Tuesday, September 16. Health officials say the Ebola outbreak in West Africa is the deadliest ever. More than 4,700 cases have been reported since December, with more than 2,400 of them ending in fatalities, according to the World Health Organization.
HIDE CAPTION
Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Ebola outbreak in West Africa
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
47
48
49
50
51
52
53
54
55
56
57
58
59
60
61
62
63
64
65
66
67
68
69
70
71
72
73
74
75
76
77
78
79
80
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Nigerian officials report two new cases, bringing total in that country to 14
  • Senegal has closed its borders with Guinea over fears about the Ebola outbreak
  • So far, 2,473 suspected Ebola cases haven been reported to WHO
  • Ebola outbreak has been vastly underestimated, WHO says

(CNN) -- The West African country of Senegal has closed its borders with Guinea over fears that the Ebola outbreak could spread, according to the Senegalese Interior Ministry. The closure includes any aircraft and ships traveling to Senegal from Guinea, Sierra Leone or Liberia.

Senegal is located to the northwest of Guinea, which as of August 20 had 579 suspected Ebola cases, according to the World Health Organization.

Sierra Leone and Liberia border Guinea to the southwest. Those three nations have been the epicenter of the Ebola outbreak.

So far, 2,473 suspected cases have been reported to WHO from those three countries and Nigeria. Nigeria now has a total of four Ebola patients under treatment at an isolation ward, bringing the total number of reported cases in the country to 14, officials said.

More than half of the patients in the outbreak have died. It's the largest Ebola outbreak on record.

And still, WHO says, the numbers don't tell the whole picture.

"The magnitude of the Ebola outbreak, especially in Liberia and Sierra Leone, has been underestimated for a number of reasons," the organization said in a statement Friday. "Many families hide infected loved ones in their homes.

Life in Liberia during the Ebola outbreak
Liberian Ebola quarantine spawns chaos

"Others deny that a patient has Ebola and believe that care in an isolation ward -- viewed as an incubator of the disease -- will lead to infection and certain death. Most fear the stigma and social rejection that come to patients and families when a diagnosis of Ebola is confirmed."

What it's like to treat an Ebola patient
Patients arriving at largest Ebola clinic

Corpses in these countries are being buried without determining cause of death, WHO says. Medical staff cannot keep up with the current demand, especially with the limited supplies they have on hand.

"In some areas, most notably Monrovia, virtually all health services have shut down," WHO says. "Fear keeps patients out and causes medical staff to flee."

Senegal is not the first country to close its border during the outbreak. President Ellen Sirleaf has shut most of Liberia's borders to contain the virus. The few points of entry that are still open are testing people passing through for Ebola. Guinea and Sierra Leone have done the same. Kenya, South Africa and others in the region are also limiting travel to and from the area.

In its first statement on the Ebola outbreak, the African Union this week expressed its "deep concern at the current situation, and its full solidarity and support to the countries affected by this epidemic."

At its meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the group of African nations authorized the "immediate deployment of an AU-led Military and Civilian Humanitarian Mission, comprising medical doctors, nurses and other medical and paramedical personnel, as well as military personnel, as required for the effectiveness and protection of the Mission."

Medecins Sans Frontieres, also known as Doctors Without Borders, describes Ebola as "one of the world's most deadly diseases." The virus is highly infectious, and is transmitted through bodily fluids such as blood, sweat and feces.

Two to 21 days after a person is infected, symptoms such as fever, muscle pain and a sore throat appear. The fever then progresses to vomiting and diarrhea, difficulty breathing, impaired organ function and internal bleeding. Ebola hemorrhagic fever can be deadly in up to 90% of cases, though the current outbreak's mortality rate has been around 50%.

Ebola virus: 9 things to know

On Thursday, residents in the Monrovia's West Point slum protested a government-enforced Ebola quarantine. An estimated 50,000 people live in the West Point area. Armed soldiers were deployed to keep the quarantine in place, CNN's Isha Sesay reported. Liberia has been hardest hit by the virus, with 972 suspected cases and 576 deaths.

Meanwhile, the disease's infectious nature has health officials around the globe on high alert. But so far, any suspected cases outside the four West African countries affected by the outbreak have turned out to be false alarms.

Test results on a patient in California this week were negative for the deadly virus, according to the state's health department. Similar cases in New York, Ireland, Abu Dhabi and the Philippines have also tested negative for Ebola.

CNN's Nana Karikari-apau contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
Ebola outbreak
updated 9:23 AM EDT, Fri September 12, 2014
An inability to do complete contact tracing is a major reason that the Ebola outbreak continues to spiral out of control.
updated 9:04 PM EDT, Fri September 12, 2014
Some of the nation's top infectious disease experts worry that this deadly virus could mutate and be transmitted just by a cough or a sneeze.
updated 3:51 PM EDT, Mon September 1, 2014
At the gravesite in a northern Liberia village, there is no ceremony, no mourning, no family members, and no final goodbyes.
updated 11:18 AM EDT, Mon August 25, 2014
Hundreds of people are dead as the worst Ebola virus outbreak in history sweeps through West Africa.
updated 9:51 PM EDT, Fri August 22, 2014
Jeremy Writebol talks about his mother Nancy's miraculous recovery after being diagnosed with Ebola in Liberia.
updated 11:20 AM EDT, Mon August 25, 2014
Two American missionaries infected with Ebola were given an experimental drug. Their recoveries seem to offer hope for others.
updated 5:53 PM EDT, Mon August 25, 2014
Despite information campaigns, fear is spreading even more quickly than the virus itself.
updated 11:49 AM EDT, Wed August 13, 2014
There are nine of us from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention in Lagos, Nigeria.
updated 3:49 PM EDT, Fri August 22, 2014
Hear one survivor's story about what it's like to get through the disease.
updated 7:22 AM EDT, Thu August 14, 2014
Questions about whether unproven treatments are appropriate to use, and who should get them, are inspiring passion and resentment.
updated 11:18 AM EDT, Mon August 11, 2014
CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta describes how the Ebola virus can spread and why so many people have become infected.
updated 4:03 PM EDT, Tue September 16, 2014
Click through our gallery as we track the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
updated 10:12 AM EDT, Tue August 12, 2014
The worst outbreak of Ebola may have started with a 2-year-old patient in a village in Guinea, according to a report.
updated 8:18 PM EDT, Tue August 5, 2014
CNN's Stephanie Elam investigates the serum called ZMapp, administered to the American Ebola patients.
updated 8:20 PM EDT, Tue August 5, 2014
Two American missionary workers infected with Ebola were given an experimental drug that seems to have saved their lives.
updated 11:26 AM EDT, Mon August 11, 2014
Dr. Sanjay Gupta explains why Ebola isn't something we should fear.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT