For Immediate Release
Friday, December 12, 2014
Contact: CDC Media Relations
Supporting Ebola Survivors
Survivors fight Ebola stigma, provide patient care; community reintegration key
The case fatality rate in West Africa’s ongoing Ebola epidemic – estimates range from 60 percent to 70 percent of those hospitalized – hides a hopeful statistic: the fact that many Ebola patients survive. There now are thousands of Ebola survivors.
In this epidemic as in past Ebola outbreaks, survivors often face stigma, income loss, and both grief and survivor guilt over the loss of family and friends. Many if not all of their possessions have been destroyed to prevent disease transmission. In some cases, families have been reluctant to accept orphaned children.
Two reports in the December 12 early release issue of CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report(MMWR) detail programs in Liberia and Sierra Leone to help Ebola survivors reintegrate with their communities and resume their lives. As survivors are thought to have some protective immunity to the strain of Ebola that sickened them, many survivors now work as caregivers for other Ebola patients.
“Nothing says more about the resilience of the human spirit than Ebola survivors who become role models for their communities,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “They show others that Ebola can be defeated and provide care, support, and inspiration for others stricken by this terrible disease.”