The deadly Ebola virus has broken out in the West African country of Guinea for the first time, alarming the public and catching health care workers off guard. Since January the virus has spread from rural areas to the capital city of Conakry, so far infecting at least 127 patients and killing 83.
It says the case number includes 14 health care workers, eight of whom have died.
The WHO says there are also eight suspected and confirmed Ebola cases in neighboring Liberia. It says the person whose diagnosis was confirmed by lab results has been put in isolation, and the people she had contact with are under medical observation.
Ebola is a highly infectious disease, spread mainly through contact with bodily fluids.
Health experts are warning people in the affected areas to wash their hands and avoid contact with Ebola victims in order to keep the disease from spreading.
The outbreak began in southeastern Guinea in February. The first cases in Guinea\’s capital, Conakry, were confirmed last week.
Last Saturday, Senegal closed the land border it shares with Guinea as a preventative measure.
Liberia has recorded a total of seven suspected and confirmed cases, including four deaths. Outbreaks of Ebola occur primarily in remote villages in Central and West Africa.
Liberia\’s Health Minister, Walter Gwenigale, on Monday warned people to stop having sex because the virus was spread via bodily fluids.
This was in addition to existing advice to stop shaking hands and kissing.
Sierra Leone has also reported five suspected cases, none of which have yet been confirmed, while Senegal, which also borders Guinea, has closed its land border.
Saudi Arabia suspended visas for Muslim pilgrims from Guinea and Liberia on Tuesday, in a sign of the growing unease about the outbreak.
Source – Agencies