2015 Photo Contest, General News, Stories, 1st prize

Ebola in Sierra Leone

Photographer

Pete Muller

Prime for National Geographic / The Washington Post

23 November, 2014

Medical staff escort a man, delirious in the final stages of Ebola, back into the isolation ward from which he had escaped, in Hastings, near the capital Freetown. The man had attempted to climb over the back wall of the complex, before collapsing in a convulsive state. A complete breakdown of mental facilities is a common stage of advanced Ebola. The man died shortly after this picture was taken.

The first cases of a new outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in Sierra Leone were reported in May. There is no cure for Ebola, and the fatality rate can be as high as 90 percent. The virus causes high fever, vomiting, and diarrhea, as well as internal and external bleeding. It is highly contagious, being passed on by sweat, blood and other bodily fluids. Extreme care has to be taken to avoid infection while treating patients, and in burying victims. The healthcare system in Sierra Leone, one of the world’s poorest countries, was not equipped to cope with the disease, and assistance from foreign NGOs became crucial. By the end of the year, 2,758 people had died of Ebola in Sierra Leone. The disease also ravaged neighboring Guinea and Liberia, with 7,880 deaths reported across the three countries overall in 2014.

About

Pete Muller

Pete Muller (b. 1982) is an award-winning photographer and multimedia producer based in Nairobi, Kenya. His work often explores issues of nationalism, conflict and postcolonial s...

Technical information

Shutter Speed
1/160
Focal length
35.0 mm
F-Stop
6.3
ISO
200
Camera
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II

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