Africa Fights Ebola With Black Death Tactic

Enforced boundary around infected area being put in place
By Shelley Hazen,  Newser User
Posted Aug 13, 2014 4:26 PM CDT
In this Aug. 12, 2014, photo, stranded people stand at a roadblock that separates Guinea and Sierra Leone.   (AP Photo/ Youssouf Bah)

(Newser) – The Ebola outbreak is spreading so fast that governments are putting into place "cordon sanitaire"—a tactic once used to contain the Black Death, the New York Times reports. The idea is to draw a boundary around the infected area and not allow anybody out. In this case, it's a triangular area that overlaps Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia and that has seen 70% of the Ebola cases. A group encompassing all three nations set the controversial plan in motion earlier this month, reports AFP. Troops reportedly began closing roads last week.

WHO officials aren’t against it, and CDC officials say it could work if used wisely. However, there is concern that those left behind the line could be abandoned. "It has a lot of potential to go poorly if it’s not done with an ethical approach," says a CDC quarantine expert. Meanwhile, public opinion of Ebola is rife with misunderstanding—one sign is the case of Guinean medical student Kadiatou Fanta, an Ebola survivor. Though now free of the disease, she has been shunned from school, her boyfriend has left her, and family members avoid her. "Ebola has ruined my life even though I am cured," she tells the AP. (The outbreak has been traced back to a 2-year-old boy.)

My Take on This Story
Show results without voting  |