News / Africa

Ebola Outbreak Spreads to Conakry, Poses New Challenges

In this photo provide by MSF, healthcare workers prepare isolation and treatment areas for Ebola in Gueckedou, Guinea, Mar. 28, 2014.
In this photo provide by MSF, healthcare workers prepare isolation and treatment areas for Ebola in Gueckedou, Guinea, Mar. 28, 2014.
Jennifer Lazuta
Guinea’s Ministry of Health says eight cases of the Ebola virus have been confirmed in the capital, Conakry. Aid organizations say the spread of Ebola to the city poses new challenges for those trying to contain the outbreak.
Guinea, AfricaGuinea, Africa
Guinea, Africa
Guinea, Africa
West Africa’s first ever outbreak of the Ebola virus, which began in Guinea’s southeastern forest region last month, is spreading.

Guinea’s Ministry of Health said eight people have tested positive for the virus in Conakry. One person has died.

The World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed that there have been eight suspected cases in Liberia, including six fatalities. In Sierra Leone, six people are believed to have contracted Ebola. Five of them have died.

This brings the total number of suspected cases to 125, including 81 deaths.
Roland Berehoudougou is the regional head of Disaster Risk Management for the humanitarian organization Plan International.

“As you know, Conakry is the biggest city of the country and people are really - it’s a very crowded city. So the issue now is how to prevent people from getting contaminated and really cope with this situation and control the epidemic in this specific place," he spoke to VOA from Conakry.

Nearly two million people currently call Conakry home. Many of them reside in slum areas, where living conditions are poor. Throughout much of the city, there is a widespread lack of access to water and sanitation.

Berehoudougou said  this could increase the speed with which the outbreak spreads.

The Ebola virus, which is one of the most contagious viral diseases, is spread through contact with bodily fluids, such as sweat, blood and saliva, of an infected person or animal.

There are no known vaccines or treatments available for Ebola. The only way to stop its spread is by preventing further infections.

Last week, when the epidemic was still contained to Guinea’s forest region, the government forbid the sale and consumption of bats and bat meat. Bats are believed to be a natural host of the Ebola virus and could be contributing to its spread.

Berehoudougou said that while this was an important prevention measure in rural areas, proper hygiene was the best way to control an outbreak in an urban center, such as Conakry.

“In Conakry, people here don’t really eat a lot of white meat, so the animal-to-human [transmission] is a less serious issue than human-to-human contamination. As you know, the disease is transmitted by human secretions, body secretions. So having good individual hygiene will prevent people from transmitting the disease and also from getting it from others," he said.

Aid organizations are now working with the government to educate Conakry’s residents about proper hygiene measures, such as hand washing and food preparation, using local radio, TV and text messages.

On Friday, the Ministry of Health urged people to immediately report any suspected cases of Ebola and not to touch anyone - alive or dead - who is suspected of having the virus.

Health centers in Conakry are now offering treatment for all suspected Ebola cases free of charge.

You May Like

Guatemala Mudslide Death Toll Rises to 86

Death toll is expected to continue to rise as emergency crews dig through tons of earth for an estimated 350 people still missing More

Debris Found in Search for Missing Ship

Objects located Sunday have not yet been confirmed to be from the 240 meter container ship, El Faro, which disappeared in the eye of Hurricane Joaquin, according to US Coast Guard More

Survivor: Gunman Spared 'Lucky One' to Give Police Message

Law enforcement official says a manifesto of several pages was recovered; contents not revealed More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: John from: Free town
March 30, 2014 2:23 PM
Why is africa, suffring from this virus. Poor and inocent people are dying.

by: Judi from: Canada
March 29, 2014 7:52 PM
Hope is available if regulations can be worked out. See:
In Response

by: amanda emefa perez from: ghana
March 30, 2014 5:55 PM
this disease has no cure now. man does not understand the way of God. it is better we see this as an opportunity to be serious with our relationship today. it is contagious, through saliva n der4 almost the same as airborne.. any1 can get it @ anytym. jux b ready 4 it

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europei
Luis Ramirez
October 02, 2015 4:45 PM
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 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 First Self-Driving Truck Debuts on European Highways

The first automated semi-trailer truck started its maiden voyage Friday, Oct. 2, on a European highway. The Daimler truck called 'Actros' is the first potentially mass-produced truck whose driver will be required only to monitor the situation, similar to the role of an airline captain while the plane is in autopilot mode. VOA’s George Putic 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 Migrant Influx Costs Europe, But Economy Could Benefit

The influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants is testing Europe’s ability to respond – especially in the poorer Balkan states. But some analysts argue that Europe will benefit by welcoming the huge numbers of young people – many of them well educated and willing to work. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

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.

Video New Fabric Helps Fight Dust-Related Allergies

Many people around the world suffer from dust-related allergies, caused mainly by tiny mites that live in bed linen. Polish scientists report they have successfully tested a fabric that is impenetrable to the microscopic creatures. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video Burkina Faso's Economy Deeply Affected by Political Turmoil

Political turmoil in Burkina Faso over the past year has taken a toll on the economy. The transitional government is reporting nearly $70 million in losses in the ten days that followed a short-lived coup by members of the presidential guard earlier this month. The crisis shut businesses and workers went on strike. With elections on the horizon, Emilie Iob reports on what a return to political stability can do for the country's economic recovery.

Video Fleeing Violence, Some Syrians Find Refuge in Irbil

As Syrians continue to flee their country’s unrest to seek new lives in safer places, VOA Persian Service reporter Shepol Abbassi visited Irbil, where a number Syrians have taken refuge. During the religious holidy of Eid al-Adha, the city largely shut down, as temperatures soared. Amy Katz narrates his report.

Video Nigeria’s Wecyclers Work for Reusable Future in Lagos

The streets and lagoons of Africa's largest city - Lagos, Nigeria - are often clogged with trash, almost none of which gets recycled. One company is trying to change that. Chris Stein reports for VOA from Lagos.

Video Sketch Artist Helps Catch Criminals, Gives a Face to Deceased

Police often face the problem of trying to find a crime suspect based on general descriptions that could fit hundreds of people in the vicinity of the crime. In these cases, an artist can use information from witnesses to sketch a likeness that police can show the public via newspapers and television. But, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, such sketches can also help bring back faces of the dead.

Video Thailand Set to Build China-like Internet Firewall

Thai authorities are planning to tighten control over the Internet, creating a single international access point so they can better monitor content. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok on what is being called Thailand’s own "Great Firewall."

Video Croatian Town’s War History Evokes Empathy for Migrants

As thousands of Afghanistan, Iraqi and Syrian migrants pass through Croatia, locals are reminded of their own experiences with war and refugees in the 1990s. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from the town of Vukovar, where wartime scars still are visible today.

Video Long Drought Affecting California’s Sequoias

California is suffering under a historic four-year drought and scientists say even the state's famed sequoia trees are feeling the pain. The National Park Service has started detailed research to see how it can help the oldest living things on earth survive. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs