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.

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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......

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