Ebola Orphans

Children encouraged to wash hands at Ebola sensitization program in Liberia.

Ever since Frank Mulbah’s mother died of Ebola in Monrovia, Liberia, in August, no one will go near him. “I went to my relatives after my mother died, but they chased me away, even after I told them that I didn’t have Ebola,” said Frank, 12, who tested negative for Ebola at the hospital where his mother died. As Ebola continues its rampage across Liberia and elsewhere in West Africa, thousands of children are taking a double hit: losing parents to the fatal virus and then being shunned by relatives, who fear they will catch the disease. The United Nations estimates the virus has orphaned nearly 4,000 children across the region, and that number could double in coming weeks. Aid groups fear the orphans are at risk of starvation and disease. The children also could pose a risk to others by spreading the disease if they are allowed to roam free without being tested for the virus.

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