Ebola outbreak in West Africa: Is my sponsored child safe?

Compassion Canada is deeply concerned about the children and families affected by the deadly Ebola virus that has taken hold in West Africa.

At present, no children or staff members in Compassion’s programs have contracted the Ebola virus. We will contact you directly if the child you sponsor becomes ill.

Compassion does not have a presence in the worst-affected countries of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. However, we do work in the West African countries of Burkina Faso, Ghana and Togo. Each of these countries is more than 1,000 kilometres east of Liberia, similar to the distance between Toronto and Halifax.

Compassion staff in the region are taking precautionary measures. Our health specialists are helping local church partners educate children and caregivers about how to prevent the spread of the disease as well as warning signs of infection.

Compassion works in Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia, too, but these East African countries are a considerable distance from the centre of the outbreak. Kenya, for example, is well over 7,000 kilometres from Liberia. That’s much farther than the distance between Toronto and Vancouver.

Please join us in praying for those who are suffering with this disease. Let’s also pray for the protection of health workers responding to the crisis and for the swift containment of the outbreak.

For further details, see Compassion International’s blog post, Ebola Outbreak in Africa: Our Reponse.

About the virus

  • Ebola virus, also known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever, has killed an estimated 70 per cent of those infected in the current outbreak.
  • It is transmitted by direct contact with the blood, body fluids and tissues of infected animals or people.
  • People with the virus become contagious anywhere from two to 21 days after infection, when symptoms develop. Initial symptoms include sudden fever, weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat. Later symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, rash, impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, internal and external bleeding.
  • To date, there is no licensed medicine or vaccine for the Ebola virus; however, several are being tested. Patients need to be isolated and given intravenous fluids to help prevent dehydration.
  • The disease has killed more than 4,500 people so far, mostly in West Africa.
  • The World Health Organization reports that almost 9,000 people have been affected during the current outbreak.

Written by: Compassion Canada