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Thursday, December 06, 2007

Ebola-Bundibugyo, Thursday Night Numbers

First, Scott posted pictures of the burials today (first link called “Ebola Burial Pictures” on the sidebar to the right) which probably do more than the proverbial thousand words to explain why this situation is so intimidating. There is also a picture of Jonah’s mother and wife, and his three oldest daughters Masika (15), Biira (12), and Magga (10). The other two, Karen (5) and Sara (2 1/2), stayed back home with their aunt. I missed the briefing due to the burial, but here is what I can glean:
  • Cummulative Cases: 101
  • Deaths: 22
  • New admissions: 1 in Kikyo and 0 in Bundibugyo
Hmm . . . How can new cases increase more than admissions? Well, there were five patients evaluated today by triage who were told to go into the isolation ward but somehow disappeared. Not encouraging for control of the spread . . . But consider this dilemma. Someone comes to triage. She has a low grade fever and mild diarrhea. 10 days ago she stood in a known patient’s presence and prayed for them. She claims to have not touched the patient. Is she a contact? Is she a suspect case? If she is lying and she really did touch the patient she’d be a definite contact, and a contact with a fever and symptoms should be admitted. But she says she didn’t touch, so then she’s not a contact, just a person with diarrhea who happened to be in the room of an Ebola patient once. Yet if you are making the decisions and you take this lady’s denial of contact at face value ( in a culture where truth is very fluid and relative) then you might be condemning others to die as she gets sicker and spreads the virus. On the other hand, if she really didn’t touch the patient and she has some mild crud that is not in any way related to Ebola, yet you admit her to the isolation ward, she’ll probably get Ebola from the patients already there, and she might die. That is very very tough. And the above case scenario was actually presented to Scott today, who turfed the decision to those with more experience. No easy answers.
  • Inpatients seen by Scott W in Nyahuka: 1
  • Maternity cases Scott M was on call for in Bundibugyo: 1
Another Hmmmm. . . . Where are all the sick people? Hiding at home. Lastly, the CDC epidemiologists are searching now for the earliest cases. Fascinatingly, the in-charge from Kikyo, Julius (the man who has cared for the most patients of all!) told Scott that in the first family to be affected, four brothers all died. There must have been someone who survived, because the story later came out that they had eaten a monkey together. It is not clear whether they found a dead monkey or shot one (men do hunt up in the forests that border the Rwenzori National Park, I see them sometimes on the road or an obscure bike path, suddenly emerging from the bush with their mangy little brown dogs and their bows and arrows). It is also not clear if the “monkey” was a primate, since we do have chimps in the district and we know that Ebola can infect chimps and gorillas. I hope the CDC team or one of the other epidemiology groups can shed light on how the virus suddenly appears.


jane. said...

* thinking of you still.

i was thinking of you last night at maybe 10:30ish, and hoping you both and scott will had been able to wake up well-rested.

i also was thinking of a tim keller sermon on psalm 88 i heard back in november.

he was talking about spiritual darkness. what i remember most was him saying how sometimes spiritual darkness lasts a long time.

and how those times of darkness can make us great and help us defeat satan - it's the grand time of God asking us: "now we'll see if you got into this relationship to serve me or just to get something from me."

in that psalm, the psalmist is upset ("you have taken my companions and loved ones from me; the darkness is my closest friend")...

but he stays with God - he gets no joy out of sticking with God, but he stays with God.

not that this helps your situation any - but it is encouraging to see y'all and scottwill sticking with God even though it seems you get no joy out of it.

may God reward you with your faithfulness, even though, i'm thinking, at times, it might feel like mustard-seed sized.

praise God it doesn't matter as much of the quantity of faith we have, but the sheer fact we have some inkling of faith in God.

may God continually prove your faith genuine while giving you perspective and peace.

please stay safe. i want to meet you one day.

Carol Mc said...

Scott and Jennifer, my continued prayers for your health and safety. For the safety for your children. May you feel the loving arms of Jesus hold you especially during this difficult time.

Anonymous said...

Hi, a friend of someone who served for 2 years in Uganda forwarded me information about your situation. As a missionary in Europe, know that I will be praying for you and the situation in the community. I have forwarded information to everyone on my team as well. With many prayers, K Knowles / Lisbon, Portugal / Greater Europe Mission

claire said...

our continued prayers, for rest, strength and protection are with you in this time of disbelief and desperation.

though we can't be near you, know that we are bearing this burden along with you, you are not alone.
i wish i could do more, but lifting you up hourly in prayer is where the Lord has me right now. I trust that our prayers will sustain you and the Lord will remain faithful.

i love you so much,

Lew and Brandi Johnson said...

I cry with you each night as i read. we live and minister in Fort Portal and know the Cheds. i now walk out to my backyard and look at those mountains that separate our towns and pray. i don't have the words for you but Christ's golden bowls full of incense are full of prayers of the saints on your behalf and your family and your coworkers and your town and your district and your people. death has been to my house before and so i pray with knowledge. I feel very confident to say that there are now thousands of saints praying for you day and night. The Lord your God is with you! a muslim asked us for a Bible this week b/c of his fear of Ebola. I bet Dr. Jonah would have liked that.

Abigail said...

Praying, praying, praying. Praying for the intervention of God, for safety and health, for sleep, for your children, for Dr Jonah's family.

Tyler and Brenda Foss said...

I am unable to fully grasp the magnatude of what you are facing, but be encouraged that our God is faithful and He is with you through it all.
Isaiah 43:2-3
I will be praying for you and those in your care. Your children and the community in which you are serving. That the Lord will call many unto Himself and that the Kingdom of God will grow among the people of Uganda. I will pray for strength and grace to carry on.

Your sister in Christ,

Phil said...

I heard about your blog through some friends, and my wife and I are both residents, with her applying to do a pedi ID fellowship. We are considering doing what you are doing, and reading your blog only makes me more excited, in a strange way. We are praying for you.

Levy Goddess said...

please keep posting so that we know what is going on. We are not getting the straight story here in the we do depend on you for the real news..I am praying for you and I know God is with you..thank you so much for helping these people.

Anonymous said...

My husband and i are praying -- we heard about this horrible situation through our friend Jane. We are praying for the people you serve, and each individual in your family by name. love, the Oelschlagers

cashea said...

Thank you for writing about this and sharing it with us. I'm a friend of Scott Will's from Philly. Your situation, Dr. Jonah's family, the pictures - I can only cry and pray.
We prayed for you in my Bible study group tonight.
- Christy

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for being there for us Ugandan's. We may be faraway from bundibugyo and unable to help, but we appreciate your love, care and all your commitment to loving people with the love of Jesus. many of us have just learn't of the gravity of the situation even though we live in the same country. We thank you , love you and will be praying for you and your beautiful family and every one in Bundibugyo.

Anonymous said...

Fascinating posting, if disturbing (all of the Ebola items) - let's hope and pray that the CDC/WHO folks can figure out the vector this time. You are now on the prayer list at my uncle's church in Chattanooga, TN (a PCA church). We are all praying for you!

Carol M said...

My prayers seem so small, my words so inadaquate. The Spirit speaks for my loss of words that God help, guide, protect, heal. God bless you Scott and Jennifer in all you work. I pray for your children's safety, and comfort especially in this difficult time. Love and prayers.