Ebola outbreak: Black market trade in blood serum worries World Health Organisation

Billy Ehrenberg
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The Ebola virus (Source: Getty)

As the Ebola outbreak continues and reports emerge of hospitals turning suffering people away, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has revealed the black market trade in treatments produced from survivors' blood.

As this fantastic map from the BBC shows, almost every region in Sierra Leone and Liberia has reported deaths, and the disease is continuing to spread.

According to Bloomberg, the treatment being traded is a serum derived from the blood of survivors and the WHO is working hard to stamp out the trade. The risks of those receiving the serum also contracting other infections is high, and the administration of the serum would lack the required professionalism.

Serums obtained through the correct channels can be highly beneficial, creating an immunity in the person receiving a blood transfusion through the transfer of antibodies.

The process is currently being applied to a US health worker, 51-year-old Rick Sacra, who contracted the virus while in Liberia.

Sacra is responding well.

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