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Ebola Outbreak Plagues West Africa

  • VOA News

FILE - Health workers teach people about the Ebola virus and how to prevent infection, in Conakry, Guinea.

FILE - Health workers teach people about the Ebola virus and how to prevent infection, in Conakry, Guinea.

Experts say the ebola outbreak in West Africa is far from under control.

The virus has killed more than 200 people since it appeared in southeastern Guinea in February. It is spread through direct contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person, even after that person dies.

Dozens of new ebola cases have been reported in Guinea and across the border in Sierra Leone since the end of May. The disease is rebounding in some areas and cropping up for the first time in others.

Liberia has not reported any new cases in a month. Liberia's Assistant Health Minister for Preventive Services, Nyenswa Tolbert, told VOA the country has focused on educating communities on the dangers of some traditional practices.

"People want to bury their dead. They want to clean them. They want to do traditional rituals, activity over the body. These are the major critical things that are affecting our people in the rural areas. And so we are informing them. Sometimes, in some cases, we are even negotiating burial," said Tolbert.

Health officials from Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia are meeting in Monrovia to share information and come up with a plan.

There is no cure for ebola, and health workers try to isolate suspected cases. This outbreak has had about a 70 percent fatality rate.

Ebola symptoms include fever, vomiting, body aches, and uncontrollable bleeding.

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