In Africa, Hotel Workers Get Ebola Training

Ebola Hotel Workers Guinea

Photo courtesy of CDC

In Africa, Hotel Workers Get Ebola Training
| published Sept. 12, 2014 |

By Thursday Review staff


In this photo provided by the Centers for Disease Control, employees at a large hotel and restaurant facility in Conakry, Guinea, pose for photos after undergoing extensive training in methods and protocols for handling issues related to Ebola (Ebola hemorrhagic fever, of Ebola HF). The Ebola virus is spreading at alarming speeds in several West African countries, including Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Nigeria.

Several of these countries have implemented forced lock-downs of entire neighborhoods and towns in an attempt to stave off the spread of the fever, and to insure that everyone within an area is tested and treated. Sierra Leone plans a mandate lock-down and quarantine of nearly the entire country later this month, and health care workers will go door-to-door in many areas while police and military keep people from entering or leaving the zones being screened.

Facilities like the hotel pictured here are at moderate risk since people come and go frequently, and can often come into close contact with others. Though much of the spread of the current Ebola outbreak can be traced to people travelling by car, truck, bus or by foot between the adjoining nations most affected in the 2014 outbreak, there is a widespread concern—worldwide—that someone may carry the disease from a public area onto a plane or ship. Workers at this hotel were given intensive training on Ebola, and they can be seen holding packets which contain detailed information about identifying symptoms and how to go about reporting problems to medical authorities. Guinea has set-up a toll-free, countrywide hotline—also available on all cell phone services, even those of outside visitors—which enables citizens and tourists alike to call 115 to reach immediate assistance, risk-free.

Ebola has already caused thousands of deaths in the four African countries most impacted by the 2014 outbreak. Thousands more are infected. The mortality rate is severe, and at 50%, the 2014 Ebola outbreak may be one of the most lethal diseases in decades, and in any part of the world.

The Ebola virus is named for the Ebola River, which flows near the small towns where the fever first appeared in 1976—then in Zaire, now called the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Though Ebola has reappeared in sporadic, limited outbreaks since 1976, the 2014 outbreak is its worst appearance since the virus was first identified.

The World Health Organization (WHO) describes Ebola fever as an acute viral illness, “often characterized by the sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache, and sore throat.” The fever moves quickly, and the symptoms which follow generally include vomiting, diarrhea, skin rashes, and impaired kidney and liver functions. Some documented cases also involve serious internal and external bleeding.

There are no known vaccines, according to WHO, but its website—and that of the CDC—offer the hopeful outlook that several experimental forms of treatment may produce positive results very soon. Only the most aggressive treatments stave off the effects of the virus, and these treatments include rehydration and the heavy reintroduction of electrolytes and other intravenous solutions.

This photo was taken by Sally Ezra for the CDC.

Related Thursday Review articles:

Ebola May Place Entire Countries in Quarantine; R. Alan Clanton; Thursday Review; Sept. 7, 2014.