Updated 11:29 AM EDT, Tue, Jun 16, 2020

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Ebola Treatment in Africa Impeded by Witchcraft and Sorcery Beliefs

West Africa

(Photo : REUTERS) The daughter of a Red Cross worker who died of ebola cries in the corridor of the Kitwit hospital May 19 . Some l00 people have died from the deadly virus so far.

A medical doctor and volunteer with Médecins Sans Frontières in Sierra Leone, said there are infected residents who refuse to seek treatment because they believe that they are not sick but was cursed by witches and sorcerers.  

According to Doctor Benjamin Black, Sierra Leone residents do not believe that Ebola exists. They also refuse to come to treatment centers because they do not think they are sick.

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Others who visit the centers and manifest the Ebola symptoms will resist treatment because they believe that doctors would not be able to cure them.

In certain areas in West Africa, especially in the rural areas where there is an Ebola outbreak, residents still believe in witchcraft and sorcery and is still widespread. People believe in treatment by traditional medicine.

The Ebola outbreak is said to have started in Guinea and has 319 reported cases of Ebola associated deaths. In the entire West Africa, there are already 1,200 reported cases of the outbreak, with 224 deaths in Sierra Leone and 129 in Liberia, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The disease has a 50 to 90 percent mortality rate and symptoms include fever, headache, diarrhea, vomiting, muscle pain, weakness and lack of appetite.

In some regions of West Africa, village chiefs prohibit medical staff to enter claiming that they are spreading the disease. Other doctors were threatened by villagers.

Doctors in the United States have started to be vigilant in looking for signs of the virus after the death of Patrick Sawyer, a U.S. citizen who went to Nigeria.

The Ebola virus is transmitted through direct contact from person to person and through contact with an infected person's blood, organs or bodily fluids.

Although the disease is not airborne, several U.S. citizens fear that it can be passed by air travel.

Florida Rep. Alan Grayson is requesting a travel ban for direct U.S. flights from Africa.

Stephen Monroe, director of National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, also expressed his concern that someone infected with the virus can travel to the United States.

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