News / Africa

Deadly Ebola Virus Sparks Fears in West Africa

In this photo taken on March 29, 2014, medical personnel at the emergency entrance of a hospital receive suspected Ebola virus patients in Conakry, Guinea.
In this photo taken on March 29, 2014, medical personnel at the emergency entrance of a hospital receive suspected Ebola virus patients in Conakry, Guinea.
Jennifer Lazuta
West Africans are growing more apprehensive as the region's first-ever Ebola outbreak spreads.  Guinea's president and other leaders are urging people to remain calm, but people across the region say they are scared. 

The outbreak that began in Guinea’s southeastern forest region last month is causing widespread fear as the death toll rises and the outbreak spreads.

Leaders throughout the region have said that there is no reason to panic, but people say they are becoming increasingly worried.

"I’m afraid," admitted Steve Doe, a resident of Liberia's capital, Monrovia. "I mean the way it attacks one, you know, and the way it kills.  I’m afraid that the outbreak will be known in Liberia - or anywhere for that matter.  We are all human beings, so yes, I’m afraid."

Guinea's Ministry of Health says more than 70 people have died since the first suspected case was treated on February 9.  More than 125 people across three countries are now believed to have been affected by the highly contagious virus.

The health ministry confirmed last week that the virus had made its way to the capital, Conakry.  Aid organizations say this is a worrying development, as the city is densely populated and many people lack access to water and good sanitation.

In Liberia, at least two people have tested positive for Ebola.  Sierra Leone has also reported suspected cases of the virus.

On Saturday, Senegal closed the land border it shares with Guinea in the southeast of the country as a preventative measure.

Papa Konaté, who lives in Dakar, said he is scared that this may not be enough, adding that Ebola is a disease that can affect anyone. "So of course we are afraid," he said.  "We pass people on the streets and then we enter into our homes -- and you see, here in Dakar, there are many Guineans everywhere." Konaté says there are many Guineans who come and go, who leave and come back without a problem.  "It’s risky," he added.

According to health officials, the Ebola cases that were found in Liberia can be traced back to individuals who recently traveled to Guinea.

There is no vaccine against Ebola and no medication to cure the virus, which is spread through close contact with bodily fluids, such as sweat, blood or saliva, of an infected person or animal.

Doctors say the only way to contain the outbreak is to stop further infections.

Monrovian resident Ameago Sekou Kamara said he and his family have begun taking precautions to avoid contracting the Ebola virus.

"Ebola is a deadly disease...so we are following all the measures we have been given by the Ministry of Health and Social welfare," Kamara explained, "like preventing handshakes, stop eating bush meat and avoid coming to where there is information that there is an outbreak.  Even if a family member that is very close to you has it, you should not get associated with the person until you have medical advice."

West African authorities and aid organizations say they are taking all possible measures to contain the outbreak.  They urge people to act wisely and follow preventative measures.

You May Like

Australia-Cambodia Resettlement Agreement Raises Concerns

Agreement calls for Cambodia to accept refugees in return for $35 million in aid and reflects Australia’s harder line approach towards asylum seekers and refugees More

India Looks to Become Arms Supplier Instead of Buyer

US hopes India can become alternative to China for countries looking to buy weapons, but experts question growth potential of Indian arms industry More

Earth Day Concert, Rally in Washington

President Obama also took up the issue Saturday in his weekly address, saying there 'no greater threat to our planet than climate change' More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Rena from: USA
April 09, 2014 1:25 AM
https://www.google.com/#q=pig+farms+maps+in+Africa

Pig farms in Africa.. are located along this side of Africa where the outbreak is. Pigs carry the virus so I have read.

by: Rena from: USA
April 09, 2014 1:19 AM
Pigs supposedly can carry the virus. I wonder what trees or tree sap has to do with the virus. Can you test tree sap to see if it has the virus?

by: Lucille Munro from: Ottawa. ON. Canada
April 05, 2014 2:21 PM
Who are you?

by: Carol Tarens from: Paradise
April 05, 2014 1:45 PM
Does anyone relate this to, a form of terrorism? Americans coming home?, or animals being used as weapons?,.Transporting Animals?, for trade to the rest of the world?, and how many people do YOU know who have already left West Africa before known outbreak?. Is this type of virus an outbreak in the U.N. States?, as of now?. These are things I have hope that someone has considered also, that may have the status to do something about. Thank You, for letting me text my thoughts.

by: Mayqueen Ukpabi from: Abia State Nigeria
April 01, 2014 3:32 AM
This Virus seem more deadly than HIV AIDS. De Minister of health should help families by conducting a house to house TEST to knw de carriers an keep dem in one hospital.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs