The deputy health minister of Liberia — who is also the county’s chief medical officer — put herself in quarantine on Saturday after her one of her assistants died from Ebola, Reuters reports.
Bernice Dahn “has placed herself under self observation due to the fact that her special assistant contracted the virus,” Liberia’s deputy information minister, Isaac Jackson, told Reuters. He then praised her for coming forward after learning of her proximity to the disease, saying that “if everyone were to do what Dr. Dahn has done, Liberia would be free of Ebola.”
To date, the Ebola outbreak has killed over 3,000 people in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. Liberia has been the hardest hit, wiht 1,830 known deaths. Officials fear the actual death total may be much higher, as the death toll may be underreported by a factor of 2.5.
Medical experts the world over are also alarmed by the rate at which the disease is spreading. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 1.4 million people in the region could be infected by January 2015.
Losing high-ranking personnel like Dr. Dahn threatens to push an already weak national health care system past its breaking point. Already, 211 health care workers have succumbed to the disease, and officials fear that there will be increasingly fewer volunteers to replace them should the epidemic continues to spread at this rate.