Officials in Guinea have confirmed four cases of Ebola in the Guinea capitol city of Conakry. At least 63 people in the southern region of the country have died of the virus recently, and it has now reached the capitol which is home to 3 million people.
The virus, which has a mortality rate of 90% causes raging fever, headaches, muscle pain, conjunctivitis and weakness in it’s early stages before presenting diarrhea, vomiting and unstoppable bleeding. Scientists have determined that the strain found in Guinea is the same strain that presented itself in the Democratic Republic of Congo (then Zaire) in 1976, and most recently in Congo and Uganda in 2012 which resulted in 17 deaths.
The outbreak of ebola is believed to have spread from bat soup and other local delicacies. Guinea’s heath minister, Reny Lamah told Bloomberg News, “We discovered the vector [infectious] agent of the Ebola virus is in the bat,” he went on to say, “We’ve sent messages everywhere to announce the ban. People must even avoid the consumption of rats and monkeys. These are very dangerous animals,”
Bat are commonly eaten by the ethnic people of Guinea and can be prepared over an open flame, in a spicy soup or in a number of other ways. Since, the Guinean government have taken steps to ban the practice of consuming bats.
In an interview with LiveScience in 2013, David Hayman, a wildlife epidemiologist at Colorado State University said, “There’s something different about bats in terms of their ability to host zoonotic diseases,”. Bats, unlike gorillas, monkeys and chimpanzees are able to host Ebola without showing signs of infection.
Heath Department spokesperson, Dr. Sakoba Keita announced on national television that the outbreak has reached the capitol city and has claimed 70 lives since last week. He also confirmed that the new cases of the virus are from people who have had contact with the bodies of the deceased and is seeking to quarantine anyone who has had contact with said bodies.
People in the region, one of the worlds poorest counties despite being rich in natural recourses, have avoided large groups of people for fear of being infected. Adversely, prices in rural areas have skyrocketed due to the lack of transportation of supplies to the area.
The United Nations and Doctors Without Borders have stepped in with 33 tons of aid and have helped with treatment and containment. Also, the US Center for Disease Control and Containment (CDC) is also prepared to take action.
Dr. Barbara Knust of the CDC told FoxNews.com, “We have been in discussion about how we may be able to participate,” She went on to say that, “We have certainly been preparing and making sure we are ready in case the call goes out.”
Dr. Knust also said that this is the furthest west that the [Zaire] Ebola has gone and that the outbreak is highly unusual. Since Guinea has never had an ebola outbreak, there are things to be investigated in regards to the origin of this particular outbreak.
This particular strain is usually found in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and Sudan and has killed 1,500 people since 1976. Liberia, which borders Guinea’s southern region is also currently investigating suspected cases.
By Nathaniel Pownell
The Huffington Post