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

    Wife of IS Leader Charged in Death of US Hostage

    Suspect allegedly admitted to being responsible for American aid worker Kayla Mueller, who officials say was sexually abused and ‘owned’ by one IS member

    Year of the Monkey Could Prove Economic Balancing Act for China

    China is up against a tricky situation on the financial front, facing the need to fight capital flight while also stopping a further slide of foreign currency reserves

    Runners Attempt 26-mile South Pole Marathon in Sub-Zero Temperatures

    How alluring is running 26.2 miles at 10,000 feet when it’s minus 31 Celsius out?

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    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......

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenyai
    X
    February 08, 2016 4:30 PM
    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video Sanders, Clinton Battle for Young Democratic Vote

    Despite a narrow loss to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in last week's Iowa Democratic caucuses, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders secured more than 80 percent of the vote among those between the ages of 18 and 29. VOA correspondent Aru Pande talks to Democrats in New Hampshire about who they are leaning towards and why in this week's primary.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.