Killer Disease Main

When I got the news that I was clear, I danced.

Surviving a killer virus

Real-life stories from West Africa

Ebola destroyed lives across West Africa, tore families apart, stopped kids from going to school and left orphans to seek new homes.

A town called Kumala is tucked away in the jungle. Care centres there saw 106 cases of Ebola in a 15-month period. Members of the community recall their battles with the deadly disease.

Killer Disease Saio
Saio Mara, survivor.

“The majority of people here didn’t believe the virus was real.

After the first two people died, people started believing. People started to panic. As soon as anyone tested positive they assumed they were dead.

My Mother died of Ebola and I’d had contact with her whilst she was ill. I was put in quarantine for 15 days. I started getting joint pain and I knew I also had the disease, even before I was tested for it.

I was so happy when I got the all clear – although my Mother had died, I had other family – so it was a happy day for me. Everybody welcomed me back. I’m a student; I’m going to return to school to finish my education.” Saio Mara

Killer Disease Ibrahim
Ibrahim Kjallo, survivor.

“Someone came from Kono district, and they were taking him to the hospital at Kabala. He died on the way, and the people took him for burial. They didn’t know. Then his remains tested positive.

One of the ladies who helped wash him before burial came to Kumala. Her name was Majory. When she became sick the ladies here went to comfort her—they didn’t know it was Ebola. She died soon after.

We lost 33 people here in Kumala—everyone who had contact with Majory died. Then people came and told us not to touch ill or dead people and that we should not perform our burial rituals. After the centre opened, everyone who got ill went to the centre.” Ibrahim Kjallo

Killer Disease Safriatu
Safriatu Dolley, survivor.

“When I tested positive for Ebola, my limbs went weak and I was very sad. My husband died of the disease, so I was terrified. I was taken to the treatment centre in Bo. When I got the news that I was clear of Ebola, I danced. I was so relieved. When I got back to Kumala, people came to see me, and they welcomed me home and held me.” Safriatu Dolley

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