By Catherine Touhill,
International News Writer
The last month has brought an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in the West African Country, Guinea. What began in the forest regions of the county has killed 83 people, including 4 in the country’s capital of Conakry.
In the capital city, there is a population of 2 million people and there are currently 13 cases of the virus, worrying health officials.
While hundreds have died from Ebola in rural Central Africa, it is odd for the virus to make its way into urban areas. While there have been 7 cases suspected and reported in Liberia, a country neighboring Guinea, there have not been cases reported in Sierra Leone, which shares the borders of the two countries.
Residents of Conakry have begun to take different precautions in order to avoid catching the virus. People are just avoiding shaking hands, while others carry around small bottles of bleach. The virus which spreads through physical contact is confining citizens of the capital to their homes as far as food and entertainment is concerned.
The virus often originates in the consumption of bush meat, from animals such as apes or bats. Death arrives with a high fever, severe vomiting, diarrhea, extensive bleeding; the fatality rate of Ebola is 90 percent. There are no currently approved drugs or vaccines to treat or prevent the virus.
Health care workers, taking care of Ebola patients are highly likely to contract the virus which has spurred the wearing of head to toe biohazard suits for those health care workers in contact with patients with the virus.
Guinea has confirmed 122 cases of Ebola since January. The World Health Organization’s chief spokesman, Gregory Hartl cautions, “If [patients] they start showing symptoms, we ask them to isolate….Fortunately for the greater population, the risks are quite small.”
However, Mariano Lugli of Doctors Without Borders has stated that, “We are facing an epidemic of a magnitude never before seen in terms of the distribution of cases.”
In the past the Ebola outbreaks had been in more remote locations and remained more concentrated in those areas.
A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Apr. 7 print edition.
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