Bandits in Guinea steal suspected Ebola blood

2014-11-21 20:31
An Ebola virus. (File: AP)

An Ebola virus. (File: AP)

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Conakry - Roadside bandits in Guinea stole a cooler containing blood samples that are believed to have Ebola, officials said on Friday, warning of the risks and vowing tighter security measures for transport of such potentially contagious cargo.

The vehicle was transporting test tubes containing blood when the roadside robbery took place on the route from Kankan prefecture in central Guinea to a test site in Gueckedou, in the south, national health officials said.

The bandits held up the minibus taxi carrying the samples from a suspected Ebola patient on Wednesday, said Guinea Red Cross press officer Faya Etienne Tolno. Why they took the blood samples is unknown.

Officials appealed on national radio for the thieves to return the samples.

"We have informed the security services. If these thieves handle this blood, it will be dangerous," Dr Barry Moumie, who heads patient care for the national Ebola response coordination committee, told The Associated Press.

"I can assure you, however, that the sample-transportation procedures will now be strengthened to avoid such disappointments," he said.

Ebola, which has killed more than 5 000 people in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, is spread primarily by contact with infected bodily fluids including blood, faeces and vomit.

Read more on:    guinea  |  health  |  west africa  |  ebola

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