News / Africa

Health Care Workers Struggle to Contain Guinea Ebola Outbreak

Health Care Workers Struggle to Contain Guinea Ebola Outbreaki
X
April 09, 2014 4:01 PM
The World Health Organization is calling the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, among the most challenging ever. The organization reports the virus has killed 101 people in Guinea and 10 in Liberia. VOA's Carol Pearson spoke to one of the top U.S. experts on infectious diseases about how to contain the Ebola virus and stop the outbreaks.
Carol Pearson
The World Health Organization (WHO) calls the Ebola outbreak in West Africa among the most challenging ever. The organization reports the virus has killed 101 people in Guinea and 10 in Liberia. 

Ebola is one of the world's deadliest viruses and the humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders is helping local health care workers in Guinea treat Ebola patients. The fatality rate for the strain that has broken out in Guinea is up to 90 percent. 

The virus has spread to the capital, Conakry, from forests in the south. The WHO is concerned that Ebola has broken out in a region where it had never appeared before. 

But Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the infectious diseases division at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), says Ebola's appearance in West Africa should not come as a surprise. 

“It’s a disease that’s spread by direct contact with an infected person, but it’s also spread by exposure to an infected animal like a bat," Fauci said. "And since we know those animals are in those areas of those adjacent countries, it’s not that unusual to see outbreaks in areas of southern Africa that are adjacent to each other."

Fruit bats are the primary carriers of Ebola, although the virus doesn't kill the bats. Humans get the virus from infected bats or other animals that these bats come in contact with. Fauci says people should avoid eating bush meat and bats when there's an outbreak of Ebola. 

The symptoms are very much like those of the flu: fever, weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat. But that's where the comparison ends. The next stage in Ebola is vomiting, diarrhea, and in some cases, internal and external bleeding. The flu is airborne, Ebola is not. 

"Ebola is almost invariably spread by direct contact with bodily fluids, particularly blood and secretions - vomit, things like that - of people who are deathly ill and people are taking care of them, so it’s usually family members, health care providers, ministers who minister to the sick and to the dead, and to morticians who take care of the bodies," Fauci said.

The best way to control the virus is to get people with symptoms into isolation wards. Researchers are trying to find effective medications, but at the moment the best chances of beating the disease are to drink plenty of fluids and get treated for secondary infections such as diarrhea.

A number of patients in Guinea have recovered and have been discharged from treatment centers. But doesn't mean they are completely free of Ebola. 

The WHO reports that men who have recovered from the disease can still transmit the virus to sex partners for up to seven weeks after they recover.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More