Missionary Evacuation Complete As Ebola Outbreak Spreads
Earlier this week, the Church of Jesus Christ Latter-day Saints announced it would be reassigning missionaries stationed in two western Africa countries due to the Ebola outbreak.
Wednesday, the church announced that all missionaries have been safely removed from Sierra Leone and Liberia—two of four countries, including Guinea and more recently Nigeria, in which the deadly outbreak has surfaced.
The World Health Organization announced that over 930 people have died from the virus. Ebola is spread through the bodily fluids of someone who is showing symptoms, including fever, vomiting and diarrhea.
“Somebody would have to come into direct contact with bodily fluids like blood or saliva, or possibly even sweat of somebody who was infected,” said Utah Department of Health Epidemiologist Theron Jeppson.
Jeppson said the current outbreak isn’t the first for the virus, but it does seem to be spreading faster and has become more widespread than outbreaks of the past for reasons scientists are trying understand.
“The cycle of it is that it could be transmitted from a bat to a monkey or a primate, and then a human could have contact with an animal such as that and become infected, and then the transmission continues because it can be spread person to person,” Jeppson explained.
Jeppson said there is no danger at this point of Ebola-infected individuals in the United States posing a risk to others. The LDS church says no illnesses have been reported among the missionaries who were stationed in the region.