There’s another side to the Ebola outbreak that we haven’t seen as much: the survivors. Up to 90 percent of those infected die from the deadly virus, but there are those who make it through. One woman in Guinea, 26-year-old Kadiatou Fanta, hasn’t spoken to her boyfriend since she was cured of Ebola. He won’t take her calls, and he’s not the only one.
“Ebola has ruined my life even though I am cured,” Fanta told the Associated Press.”No one wants to spend a minute in my company for fear of being contaminated.
Fanta, a medical student, has been living off little money her parents put together from their village. She became ill while interning at a clinic in the country’s capitol, Conarky. Unaware that the patient she was helping had Ebola, Fanta wasn’t wearing gloves or a mask.
Two weeks later, she got sick. The symptoms started with diarrhea and escalated to vomiting blood. By March Fanta was cured, and discharged from a treatment center with a certification proving her health status.
When she returned back to her village, she was still visibly weak, and word had already spread that she was ill. People have been steering clear of her ever since, including the boyfriend that she used to see daily, and her school.
Professors at Gamal Abdel Nasser University don’t want her in the classroom. “I still haven’t taken my exams while my classmate have moved on to the next level,” she said. “The processors said they were going to grade me by telephone.”
Leone Kemokai, a man in Sierra Leone, is going through a similar experience. Kemokai, 20, spent nearly a month in a treatment center. He was released last weekend. “When I became sick, I was scared to go to the hospital,” he explained. “I hid from my family, from health workers. After four days I could’t hide anymore, I was too sick. An Ebola ambulance collected me and took me to the hospital.”
Those in his village are scared to have contact with him. Kemokai’s mother died from Ebola, his brother and sister both survived a bout with the fever.
Ebola is spread through direct contact bodily fluids, and can live in men’s semen for close to two months. Patients can receive supportive treatment such as balancing electrolytes to maintain hydration. If they are able to build antibodies, they have a chance of survival. If they make it, they are no longer contagious but are susceptible to catching the disease again.
This week, the World Health Organization sent doses of ZMapp, an experimental drug used to treat Ebola, to help medical workers in Liberia. ZMapp has not been cleared for use on humans. Two American Ebola patients were treated with the drug while in the West African country, before being flown to Atlanta for extended care.
Photo: NBC News