Ebola Spread to Guinea’s Capital Raises Fears

Image: Kjell Gunnar Beraas / Doctors Without Borders via AP

Healthcare workers from Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors without Borders) prepare isolation and treatment areas for their Ebola operations in Gueckedou, Guinea on Friday.

 

CONAKRY, Guinea — Ebola, one of the world’s most deadly viruses, has spread from a remote forested corner of southern Guinea to the country’s seaside capital, raising fears that the disease, which causes severe bleeding and almost always death, could spread far beyond this tiny West African nation’s borders.

In the first outbreak of its kind here, Ebola already has killed at least 70 people.

Health officials warn that the arrival of Ebola in this sprawling city of some 2 million people with an international airport could spell disaster. Among the poorest countries in the world, Guinea has severely limited medical facilities and a large population living in slums where the virus could spread quickly.

“Poor living conditions and lack of water and sanitation in most parts of Conakry poses a serious risk of this epidemic spiraling into a crisis,” said Ibrahima Toure, country director for the aid group Plan International.

Panic already has grown among residents since the government announced the Conakry cases late Thursday on national television.

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Ebola epidemic could become global crisis, experts warn

8 confirmed cases in capital of Conakry, city of 2 million with an international airport

The Associated Press Posted: Mar 29, 2014 1:24 PM ETLast Updated: Mar 29, 2014 1:24 PM ET

Ebola, one of the world’s most deadly viruses, has spread from a remote forested corner of southern Guinea to the country’s seaside capital, raising fears that the disease, which causes severe bleeding and almost always death, could spread far beyond this tiny West African nation’s borders.

In the first outbreak of its kind Guinea, Ebola already has killed at least 70 people including one man whose family brought him to Conakry, the capital, for medical treatment. Now six of his relatives and two others exposed to him are being kept in isolation at a hospital.

Health officials warn that the arrival of Ebola in this sprawling city of some 2 million people with an international airport could spell disaster. Among the poorest countries in the world, Guinea has severely limited medical facilities and a large population living in slums where the virus could spread quickly.

“Poor living conditions and lack of water and sanitation in most parts of Conakry poses a serious risk of this epidemic spiralling into a crisis,” said Ibrahima Toure, country director for the aid group Plan International.

Panic already has grown among residents since the government announced the Conakry cases late Thursday on national television. While most days up to 300 patients seek treatment at Donka Hospital, less than 100 came on Friday as news spread that the Ebola patients were being quarantined there.

“My daughter is sick and coughing but I prefer to keep her at home. I wouldn’t set foot inside Donka Hospital for anything in the world right now,” said Djalikatou Balde, a teacher.

No known cure….

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