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Ebola: Entire households erased one by one

The Daily Vox is running a series of blogs written by DR STEFAN KRUGER, who is in Sierra Leone with Doctors Without Borders (MSF) to help combat the spread of Ebola in the region.

Entry 5:  Getting worse before getting better

In the days that follow we continue to receive terribly ill patients. My nurse patient withers away as time passes. His body finally gives in when the normal immune system simply ceases to function. We get into a routine of admitting between 10 and 20 new patients per day. We become accustomed to families being broken up because of discordant blood test results and entire households being erased from their family trees one by one. The logisticians continue work on the expansion and finally an 80-bed treatment centre stands as a monument to a collective failure in stopping the outbreak.

Stefan Kruger 3 [MSF]Of course not all patients exit the centre through the mortuary. Many suspected cases are discharged when their admission blood tests are negative. There is also a cure rate of approximately 20%. The truth is that we don’t know whether we truly cured them – perhaps we only provided the final straw their immune systems needed to break the Ebola camel’s back. A small service we are more than happy to provide.

Read Kruger’s fourth entry here.

Doctors without Borders (MSF) is currently working in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia to combat the spread of Ebola across the region. To support this work, go to or SMS “JOIN” to 42110 to donate R30. To receive direct updates about Ebola from Doctors without Borders (MSF) SA, e-mail your name to with the subject line “Ebola”.

– Featured image via Sylvain Cherkaoui/Cosmos/MSF

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