SIGN UP FOR THE BREITBART EMAIL NEWSLETTER

Fear, Confusion Grip Guinea as Ebola Death Toll Rises

Fear, Confusion Grip Guinea as Ebola Death Toll Rises

Guinea battled Wednesday to contain an Ebola epidemic threatening neighbouring countries as fear and confusion gripped communities under siege from one of the deadliest viruses known to mankind.

Global aid organisations have sent dozens of workers to help the poverty-hit west African nation combat the haemorrhagic fever, with health officials raising the death toll by two to 63. 



The British-based charity said people of Guinea’s southern forests — the epicentre of the outbreak which began in February — had been terrified by seeing neighbours bleeding severely as they were struck down by the virus. 


Ebola had never spread among humans in west Africa before February but five deaths being investigated in Liberia, one in Sierra Leone and others still being tested could bring the total in the epidemic to above 70. 



The tropical virus — described in some health publications as a “molecular shark” — causes severe fever and muscle pain, weakness, vomiting and diarrhoea, shutting down organs and causing unstoppable bleeding in severe cases.

Other highly-contagious tropical bugs, including the Marburg virus and Lassa fever, can lead to similar symptoms but the authorities have not announced which other pathogens have been picked up in test samples.



Sierra Leone warned on Tuesday that a 14-year-old buried recently may have been infected in Guinea, while the deaths of four women and a boy in Liberia are being tested for the killer virus.

Guinea has banned inhabitants of the south from eating bats, a common feature of the local diet, as the creatures are considered to be the natural host of the virus.

Transmission of Ebola to humans can come from wild animals, direct contact from another human’s blood, faeces or sweat, as well as sexual contact or the unprotected handling of contaminated corpses.

Doctors Without Borders, which is known by its French initials, MSF, said the spread of the disease was being exacerbated by people travelling to funerals in which mourners touch the dead person’s body. 

No treatment or vaccine is available for Ebola, and the Zaire species in Guinea — first found in the Democratic Republic of Congo 38 years ago — has a 90 percent death rate.

Guinea is one of the world’s poorest nations despite vast untapped mineral wealth, with a stagnating economy, youth unemployment at 60 percent and a rank of 178th out of 187 countries on the UN’s Human Development Index.

Plan, MSF and other aid organisations are working are providing treatment and sanitation facilities and relaying public health information, especially to schools, via the media and text messages.

MSF emergency coordinator Marie-Christine Ferir said the priority was isolating patients showing symptoms, protecting their families and neighbours while treating them with dignity.

P.S. DO YOU WANT MORE ARTICLES
LIKE THIS ONE DELIVERED RIGHT TO YOUR INBOX?
SIGN UP FOR THE DAILY BREITBART NEWSLETTER.


Comment count on this article reflects comments made on Breitbart.com and Facebook. Visit Breitbart's Facebook Page.

SIGN UP FOR THE OFFICIAL
BREITBART EMAIL NEWSLETTER

GET TODAY'S TOP NEWS DELIVERED RIGHT TO YOUR INBOX

I don't want to get today's top news.

x