The Ebola epidemic continues claiming lives at an astounding rate in West Africa. The number of deaths resulting therefrom leaving behind corpses after corpses are as worrying. Contamination with the virus can also happen via the handling of dead bodies; so, basically, an infected person, dead or alive, is carrier of the virus for a certain number of days. Furthermore, the death cases are piling up and the personnel in charge of the burials are finding increasing difficulties in coping with the situation, which has exacerbated to such an extent that some bodies are being decomposed in their houses for days.
Sierra Leone is currently experiencing another problem. The bodies are not to be buried before prior permission of the Ministry of Health since organising funerals for infected people requires much more precaution. Daily, the Ebola burial teams might be burying around 20 to 30 corpses. Consequently, the dead bodies are piling up. It has to be ensured whether the bodies are carriers of the virus or not. The test results for Ebola virus take a considerable amount of time to reach those concerned. Therefore, it takes time for them to determine the cause of death.
Knowing whether someone died of Ebola is specially critical since the disease is transmissible even after death – the deadly virus defies death, you say? Also, already, the existing burying procedures have contributed considerably to the spread of the virus: women are particularly affected by this problem because, most of the times, they are the ones who cater for the funeral procedures.
As a consequence, even people who have died as a result of other causes are being disadvantaged. Will the procedures be accelerated so that the people can be buried in dignity? One of the existing measures adopted is having motorbike riders taking blood samples taken from the corpses to the laboratory to be tested for Ebola. Obviously, this is not enough. Those dealing with the crisis wish to have the results within 24 hours so that the uninfected people who died can have decent and respectable burials.