Officials in Sierra Leone lament 'defeat' by Ebola

Officials in Sierra Leone lament 'defeat' by Ebola
(Image credit: John Moore/Getty Images)

Health officials fighting the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone said the virus has effectively overwhelmed their efforts, The New York Times reports.

Plans put into motion on Friday focus on assisting families who must care for relatives at home, because Sierra Leone's treatment facilities are too full to accept more Ebola cases.

"It's basically admitting defeat," Dr. Peter H. Kilmarx, leader of the CDC's Sierra Leone team, told the Times. "For the clinicians, it's admitting failure, but we are responding to the need. There are hundreds of people with Ebola that we are not able to bring into a facility."

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The World Health Organization reported this week that Sierra Leone currently has 304 Ebola treatment spots open for patients, but that at least 1,148 are needed. For those patients who cannot be admitted to a treatment facility, health workers are instead sending painkillers, gloves, and other materials to family members who must now act as caretakers. But those people's ability to provide assistance is still incredibly limited.

"You push some Tylenol to them, and back away," Dr. Kilmarx said.

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