Friday, November 6, 2015

As Of Tomorrow, Sierra Leone Is... Ebola-Free

UPDATED: Ebola epidemic has ended in Sierra Leone. That is very good news. And we should celebrate it -- as we do whenever science and human life finds a way -- over adversity.

But in the same moment, we must acknowledge that the life form called ebola (a virus). . . finds a way, too. During the past week, one active case in Guinea, a mother, died after child-birth -- and her newborn replaced her, on the W.H.O. lists, as an infection case -- so the total in the outlying Forecariah prefecture -- and in Guinea -- remains (in an unspeakably tragic way) steady, at three. Despite the pending good news in Sierra Leone, the story in the tiny rural village of Tana, in Forecariah Prefecture, Guinea is the front page of The New York Times, this morning:

. . . .The prime minister had arrived, and he was there to give this rural community a serious scolding.

“I demand the cooperation of the population,” said the prime minister, Mohamed Said Fofana, nearly hollering from his perch on a makeshift bamboo stage.

“Ebola is gone everywhere — except here,” Mr. Fofana told the nearly 300 people gathered around him. “The eyes of the world are on Tana village.”

This is the last known place on Earth with Ebola. . . .

Getting to zero — as the effort to finally stop the outbreak is known — has bedeviled governments and international health experts for months. Workers from aid groups have descended on the villages where the virus is still spreading, a promising experimental [Merck/NewLink] vaccine is being given to adults who have been in contact with a victim, and government officials, once reluctant to acknowledge the dangerous outbreak, are helping to wipe it out. . . .

We will certainly meditate -- to keep all mothers, expecting and delivered -- awash in golden hued good ju-ju, this weekend. Namaste. . . .

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