Friday, April 4, 2014

Curbing west Africa’s ebola outbreak

IRIN: As health authorities and aid groups work to contain the spread of Ebola in Guinea which has killed 59 people and infected scores of others since January, suspected cases have emerged in neighbouring Liberia, prompting calls for a regional response.

Haemorrhagic fever symptoms first appeared in Guinea’s southern forested region. Eighty-six people have so far been infected. Authorities are urging restriction of movement and observance of hygiene to prevent further infections.

The cases have mainly been reported in the four southern districts of Guéckédou, Macenta, Nzérékoré and Kissidougou near the border with Sierra Leone and Liberia. Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has dispatched some 33 tons of medicines and equipment to Guinea to help curtail the epidemic which is infecting 1-3 people a day.

“It’s happening along the border, so what we’ve been doing now is to start a collaboration between these neighbouring countries,” said Francis Kasolo, director of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Disease Prevention and Control Unit in Africa. “Conferences are being held between these three countries to ensure that whenever there is a suspected case it can be identified quickly and appropriate response can be taken.”

In Guinea’s Guéckédou area, district health chief Moussa Kolié said: “We have begun training nurses to help contain as much as possible the spread of new cases.” Funeral gatherings and unnecessary hospital visits were being discouraged, he said...

Ebola virions, from harting the Path of the Deadly Ebola Virus in Central Africa. PLoS Biol 3/11/2005: e403 doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0030403, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Generic license

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