News / Africa

Emergency Ebola Intervention Launched in Guinea

FILE - World Health Organization officials wear protective clothing as they prepare to enter Kagadi Hospital in Kibale District, about 200 kilometers from Kampala.
FILE - World Health Organization officials wear protective clothing as they prepare to enter Kagadi Hospital in Kibale District, about 200 kilometers from Kampala.
Jennifer Lazuta
Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has launched an emergency medical intervention following reports of the Ebola virus in southern Guinea, where an outbreak of hemorrhagic fever has left at least 34 people dead.

Guinea’s Ministry of Health, which says the outbreak has reached epidemic proportions, has registered 49 infections — including three suspected infections in the capital, Conakry — since it was first reported last month.

Guinean health ministry official Sakoba Keita told VOA Saturday that three of 12 virus samples sent to France have been confirmed as Ebola.

Amid growing concern that Guinea's hemorrhagic fever outbreak may have spread to neighboring Sierra Leone, the health ministry says World Health Organization officials are due to arrive on Sunday to conduct additional tests on site.

According to MSF's Dr. Esther Sterk, a tropical disease specialist, the Geneva-headquartered group currently has a 24-member medical team on the ground to treat suspected cases, and more staffers are scheduled to arrive in coming days.

“We have set up an isolation ward in Guéckédou," she said. "That’s one of the places where patients have been seen. In this isolation unit we are treating the patients, and also what we do, everybody who has been in contact with suspected cases or confirmed patients, we follow them up in the period of the incubation time, in period that these people can fall sick.”

Sterk said an additional isolation ward will be set up in Macenta, where there have also been suspected cases of the virus.

MSF said that more than 30 tons of medical supplies are now en route from Belgium and France to Guinea, including medications to ease the symptoms of the fever and equipment for isolation chambers.

This is the first time that such a virus has been identified in Guinea. This particular strain of the virus is initially contracted via contact with contaminated rodent feces and is then spread among humans through bodily fluids, such as sweat, saliva and blood.

Symptoms include high fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and, in some cases, bleeding.

The WHO says Ebola is one of the most highly contagious viral diseases, resulting in death between 25 and 90 percent of cases. The virus cannot be prevented with a vaccine and is untreatable with medication.

“There is no curative treatment, but there is symptomatic treatment," said Sterk. "So if people have a fever, we give something to reduce the fever. People can have diarrhea and vomiting, so we give fluids, IV fluids. People have often a lot of pain, so we give painkillers. But for the containment of the outbreak, it’s very important that sick patients will be isolated and receive treatment in isolation ward.”

The Ministry of Health says it is has begun to educate the population about the symptoms of the virus and the importance of rapid treatment.

You May Like

US, China Have Dueling Definitions of Cybersecurity

Analysts say attribution or or proving that a particular individual or government is responsible for a hack, is a daunting task More

Snowden: I'd Go to Prison to Return to US

Former NSA contractor says he has not received a formal plea-deal offer from US officials, who consider him to be a traitor More

Goodbye Pocahontas: Photos Reveal Today's Real Native Americans

Weary of stereotypes, photographer Matika Wilbur is determined to reshape the public's perception of her people More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: billsparkes from: uk
March 24, 2014 9:37 AM
Can some one PLEASE identify which strain of Ebola this is. Or is this only available from WHO. Thanks. Also most strains of Ebola are so virulent every body is dead before it can be spread to far

by: Alyssa from: United States
March 23, 2014 10:13 AM
Seeing some comments around the web about how this is "the beginning of the end" etc. etc.... since Ebola has emerged and been recognized in the 70's there have been numerous outbreaks, some involving even larger numbers of people. It is interesting that Ebola is now showing up in a new part of Africa, but I would not be too freaked out by this. One thing working against Ebola is just how fast it kills people if it's going to, which (with proper containment of those sick) makes it's spread usually short term.
In Response

by: meanbill from: USA
March 23, 2014 8:20 PM
CRAZY isn't it? .. Just one sick (EBOLA) person on a plane, stopping over in 2 or 3 countries, could spread a world-wide epidemic, couldn't they? ....... REALLY?

by: African from: Sierra Leone
March 23, 2014 5:02 AM
Cain don't be a dunce. Western civilization has spread death, destruction and disease worldwide. Also tell me which part of Guinea or Sierra Leone is in the west? I hope you see now have irrelevant and nonsensical your comment is

by: Ousman Baldeh Bah from: Gambia
March 23, 2014 12:32 AM
This is as dangerous as malaria. similar symptoms and public burdens. I know very well that every family in Guinea is worried and very scared. We are also equally worried and scared here in Gambia because it might spread here too through our neighbouring Senegal. Please God, help us more and guide us more. Those infected, heal them and make the virus go away. unfortunately those who have died, take them to heaven. AHMEN! If I were a doctor, I would have support voluntarily.

by: rubiks6 from: Virginia
March 22, 2014 11:33 PM
If, as the article states, "the virus is initially contracted via contact with contaminated rodent feces", then this is Lassa, not ebola.

Lassa is endemic to western sub-Saharan Africa. This is probably nothing new.

However, the article also stated "3 of 12 virus samples sent to France have been confirmed as Ebola". Let us hope that it is Lassa.

by: Lanfia from: USA
March 22, 2014 10:26 PM
There are a lot more than the confirmed 34 dead in this outbreak. My colleagues on the ground in Gueckedou are reporting persons infected with similar symptoms in virtually every quarter and many dead in the surrounding areas. Then there's Kissidougou. All eyes on Conakry. It is a day's journey from Gueckedou and also Kankan which is after Kissidougou and Tokounou.

by: FthomasCain from: San Francisco
March 22, 2014 10:10 PM
Just about every bad thing that has ever happened to western civilization has emanated out of Africa.
In Response

by: Bruce Wayne from: Portugal
March 23, 2014 1:01 PM
And probably just about every ignorant comment that has ever happened to the world has emanated out of America.
In Response

by: Andrew Earle-Richardson from: Conakry Guinea
March 23, 2014 5:14 AM
That kind of broad, ignorant accusatory statement accomplishes nothing.
In Response

by: Charles from: Afghanistan
March 23, 2014 2:02 AM
That is likely the most idiotic and clueless statement I have ever read on the internet.
Congratulations, you win.
In Response

by: eburg206er from: Ellensburg, wa
March 22, 2014 11:25 PM
And vice versa.

by: ebola from: the world
March 22, 2014 9:42 PM
It's starting......

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Making a Minti
October 07, 2015 4:17 AM
While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video Self-Driving Cars Getting Closer

We are at the dawn of the robotic car age and should start getting used to seeing self-driving cars, at least on highways. Car and truck manufacturers are now running a tight race to see who will be the first to hit the street, while some taxicab companies are already planning to upgrade their fleets. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Clinton Seeks to Boost Image Before Upcoming Debate

The five announced Democratic party presidential contenders meet in their first debate next Tuesday in Las Vegas, Nevada. Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton continues to lead the Democratic field, but she is getting a stronger-than-expected challenge from Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.

Video Music Brings Generations Together

When musicians over the age of 50 headline a rock concert, you expect to see baby boomer fans in the audience. Boomer rock stars have boomer fans. Millennial rock stars have millennial fans. But this isn’t always the case. Take the Lockn’ Music festival which took place in mid-September in rural Arrington, Virginia. Here, Jacquelyn de Phillips discovered two generations of people who are considered quite different in the outside world, spending 4 days together in music-loving harmony.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video South Carolina Reels Under Worst-ever Flooding

South Carolina is reeling from the worst flooding in recorded history that forced residents from their homes and left thousands without drinking water and electricity. Parts of the state, including the capital, Columbia, received about 60 centimeters of rain in just a couple of days. Authorities warn that the end of rain does not mean the end of danger, as it will take days for the water to recede. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs