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

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

Video Scientists Say We Need Softer Robots

Today’s robots are mostly hard, rigid machines, with sharp edges and forceful movements, but researchers at Carnegie Mellon University say they should be softer and therefore safer 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs