The World Health Organization-deployed health worker in Sierra Leone has contracted Ebola and is said to be under the best care possible including the option of medical evacuation to another care facility if necessary, said WHO in a statement.
Even before the Ebola outbreak began, the West African area was affected by Ebola disease and the WHO has stepped in in March to deploy global health workers to meet the shortage of the staff in these countries.
Since the beginning of the international response to the outbreak in March, WHO has deployed nearly 400 people from across the Organization and from partners in the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN) to help respond to the disease in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. “This is the first time someone working under the aegis of WHO has fallen ill with the disease,” said WHO.
The Ebola virus is spread through contact with bodily fluids and people giving care or working around infected patients are known to be a high risk group. In the past six months of the outbreak, more than 225 health workers have fallen ill and nearly 130 have lost their lives to the disease they were working to contain.
WHO recognizes there is a risk for health workers who work around Ebola and takes many precautions before they deploy to help them protect themselves in the field. Once there, the Organization ensures those workers have access to appropriate medical advice and support.