Guinea seeks to stem spread of Ebola virus

March 30, 2014 - 6:31:00 am

CONAKRY: Authorities in Guinea scrambled on Friday to halt the spread of Ebola in the capital as the Health Ministry identified another four suspected cases of a deadly virus outbreak that is estimated to have already killed 70.

Officials said the previous day that five cases of Ebola had been detected in Conakry, a city of more than 2 million people, some 300km from the previous infections in the West African country’s remote southeast. One elderly man died and four male relatives were quarantined.

Authorities in Guinea have launched an investigation into the movements of the infected men in Conakry and steps are being taken to deal with anyone who came into contact with them, the government said in a statement.

The arrival of the disease in the capital, where hundreds of thousands of people live tightly packed in rambling shanties, could mark a sharp increase in the population at risk compared with the sparsely populated villages of the forested interior.

In Sierra Leone and Liberia, 11 more people have died from suspected Ebola, stirring concern that one of the most lethal infectious diseases known to man could be spreading in an impoverished region ill-equipped to cope. 

In Guinea, 111 suspected cases have been detected, almost all in the remote forest region, centred on Gueckedou. The mortality rate from the infection is running at 64 percent, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said.   

“Families have been decimated. When you go into rural areas, especially in Gueckedou, you see villages where there are lots of people infected,” said Mariano Lugli, emergency coordinator for Doctors Without Borders (MSF).