Guinea says has contained Ebola outbreak

2014-03-27 08:25
Shutterstock []

Shutterstock []

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Conakry - Guinea said on Wednesday it had stopped an outbreak of deadly Ebola fever from spreading beyond the country's remote southeast, although the number of deaths from suspected infections rose to at least 63.

The UN agencies and medical charities such as Doctors Without Borders (MSF) have scrambled to help Guinea - one of the world's poorest countries - to cope with the virus, amid fears it might spill across borders into neighbouring West African nations.

Liberia, which shares a border with south-eastern Guinea, reported five deaths this week from suspected infections in people who had come across the frontier to seek treatment.

Sierra Leone has also uncovered two deaths in the border town of Boidu suspected to be linked to Ebola, one of the most lethal infectious diseases known to man.

Laboratories have so far only confirmed 13 cases of the disease out of 45 tested. More samples, some of them from Sierra Leone and Liberia, have been sent for examination.

"The epidemic is not spreading to other regions," Guinean Health Minister Remy Lamah told Reuters by telephone from the affected area in Guinea's remote Forest region.

"Medical equipment has been shipped in," he said. "MSF is helping us to control the outbreak."

An MSF spokesperson said the number of suspected infections had risen by just two from Tuesday to 88, according to government figures. Four more people died, however, bringing the death toll to 63.

Fear of illness spreads

MSF flew in 33 tons of medical equipment at the weekend, enabling the creation of an isolation ward in Gueckedou, the epicentre of the outbreak. Ten patients with Ebola symptoms were receiving treatment there, MSF said.

Another isolation facility is being set up in the town of Macenta to deal with suspected cases there, said the medical charity, which is reinforcing its emergency team of 30 staff.

Despite official assurances that all possible precautions were being taken to contain the outbreak in the southeast, fear of the illness has spread to the distant capital Conakry.

Drivers at one of the seaside capital's main bus stations said travel to the affected regions had slowed to a trickle.

"We have problems. Since the appearance of Ebola, which we'd never before heard of, there's now a psychosis. People are scared," said Ibrahima Oualare, spokesman for the local bus and taxi drivers' union.

Since its discovery in 1976 in what is now Democratic Republic of Congo, only around 2 200 cases of Ebola have been recorded. Of those, 1 500 were fatal.

The outbreak of mysterious haemorrhagic fever was first detected in Guinea in February. Scientists have since identified it as the most virulent Zaire strain of the Ebola virus.

The virus is believed to reside primarily in bats between rare outbreaks in humans. Some experts believe it may have been carried by bats from central Africa, where it is more common.

Ban on bats and bush meat

In an effort to contain the disease, Guinea has banned the sale and consumption of bats and other types of bush meat, and banned public funerals for those killed. Volunteers from the Guinean Red Cross were disinfecting the homes of victims and dealing with infected bodies.

The disease incubates for up to three weeks and its symptoms are similar to malaria and cholera, making it difficult to detect in West Africa, where such diseases are endemic.

The virus initially causes raging fever, headaches, muscle pain, conjunctivitis and weakness, before moving into more severe phases of causing vomiting, diarrhoea and haemorrhages. There is no vaccine and no known cure.

A team of Guinean and MSF officials were visiting villages advising people on precautionary measures. Infection can be reduced by simple measures such as washing hands, wearing gloves, face masks and protective goggles.

The teams were travelling by foot seeking to identifying people who have been in direct contact with Ebola victims and to isolate people showing symptoms of the disease, MSF said.

International SOS, a leading medical and travel security services company, said business travellers and expatriates working outside the healthcare sector had a low risk of contracting the rare disease. Several international mining companies are active in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

It was the first recorded fatal outbreak of Ebola in West Africa. A non-fatal case was documented in a scientist studying an Ebola outbreak in chimpanzees in the Tai national park in Ivory Coast in 1994.
Read more on:    msf  |  guinea  |  health  |  west africa  |  ebola

Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24


Africa: Land of Billionaires!

Find out who are the richest of the richest in Africa!

Best bro movies 2014
Every man should be able to do these three things
Goalkeeper saves five penalties with his FACE!
Hottie of the day: Jesselyn

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now! - shop online today

Hot festive offers at!

Hurry! Stocks are limited. Don’t miss out. Shop Now!

Save up to 60% on toys!

Don’t miss out on this hot offer, save up to 60% on toys. While stocks last. Shop now!

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Save up to R2200 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at While stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25


You may feel divided. Conflict between mind and emotions can create tension or indecision. This could lead to stressful more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.