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

Multimedia Brussels Schools, Metro Reopen Under Heavy Guard

City remains under the highest threat alert level due to what authorities have described as a 'serious and imminent' threat of attack

Video Debt-ridden Refugees Await Onslaught of Lebanese Winter

Aid agencies are attempting to reduce potentially devastating consequences of freezing conditions and snowstorms that killed eight last year, including three Syrian refugees

Americans Think About Strange Stuff at Thanksgiving

Millions of Americans are celebrating Thanksgiving, but they’re not necessarily thinking about turkey and stuffing

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

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.
After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against ISi
November 24, 2015 3:04 AM
The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs