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Life and death in an Ebola hot-zone in war-ravaged Congo

Debora Patta

Mangina, Democratic Republic of Congo — I watch as an ambulance drives in with yet another suspected case of Ebola. Nothing is rushed — this is an emergency where speed can kill — contact with an infected person can be deadly, one wrong move can be fatal.

The patient is led to a special tent by a health worker clad in protective gear. They have to protect themselves from head to toe. This is the woman's first stop as she begins the anxious wait to find out if she has Ebola.

Masca Des'Ange recognized the signs of Ebola and sought help immediately. But although she acted quickly, she's nervous. "Of course I am afraid," she tells me. "I am human, so I am scared."

Des'Ange is taken to the isolation unit to wait for the results of her tests.

I want to get closer to speak to patients infected with Ebola, which means suiting-up in protective gear. Entering a hot-zone is dangerous business, and not something you want to take chances with.

The disease is so virulent that Dr. John Pomapembe contracted it while treating his patients, despite receiving the latest vaccine and wearing protective gear. "Even though I am a victim of this virus," he told CBS News, "I am also one of the warriors fighting it."

He survived because he got help immediately.

At a nearby UNICEF crèche Ebola survivors, immune to the disease, care for the children of the sick and dying.

We saw a tiny newborn whose mom was prevented from getting to the Ebola treatment center for nearly three weeks because violence in the conflict-ravaged region shut down her village. The baby girl was still tiny; Her mother lived just long enough to give birth. But baby Victorine, miraculously, is Ebola-free.

Still, she and her two-year-old brother Treasure are both being monitored for any signs of the disease that killed their mother. Treasure plays happily nearby when our team visits. He has no idea his mother is dead. The nurses still can't face telling him he'll never see her again.

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