Update (08/12/14): The map in this post has been updated to reflect the most current information available.
With the recent outbreak of Ebola in West African countries, many sponsors have been asking if their children are safe.
First and foremost, no Compassion children or staff have been directly affected. Still, we are taking precautionary measures to protect our children and staff should the outbreak spread into the countries where we work. If your Compassion-sponsored child has been impacted we will contact you directly.
“Compassion is working with country health officials in Ghana, Togo and Burkina Faso to stay informed about the Ebola outbreak and its potential risks,” says Terry Laura, Compassion’s health technical advisor, “In all three countries, Compassion field staff are undergoing Ebola awareness training and distributing educational resources to field staff and church partners.”
“Togo, Burkina Faso and Ghana are at higher risk for Ebola entering their countries, as they are approximately 1,283 kilometers from Liberia, which is about 800 miles away,” said Katy Causey, Compassion Africa Communication Specialist. “Compassion’s East Africa countries – Tanzania, Rwanda, Kenya and Ethiopia – are much farther away. For instance, the distance between Liberia, where many Ebola cases have been reported, and Kenya is about 7,434 kilometers, or over 4,600 miles. That’s about 1.5 times the distance from California to New York.”
Ebola virus (or Ebola hemorrhagic fever) is one of the world’s most virulent diseases with a case fatality rate of up to 90%. The virus is transmitted by direct contact with the blood, body fluids and tissues of infected animals or people.
Named after the Ebola River, the virus was first recognized in 1976. Since then, there have been more than 3,300 reported human cases and more than 2,000 deaths. To date, there is no licensed vaccine available for treatment of humans or animals against Ebola virus. However several are being tested.
“Our prayers go out to the individuals and their families affected by this disease,” says Sidney Muisyo, Compassion’s Africa regional vice president. “Our hope is for the swift containment of the Ebola outbreak in Africa. Compassion’s highest priority remains the safety and well-being of the children and families we serve.”