Ebola Virus Reaches the Capital of Guinea

Ebola, Guinea

Health official now report that they are treating eight cases of Ebola infection in Conakry, the capital of Guinea. Thus far the outbreak of Ebola has claimed the lives of at least 70 people in this West African Nation. Now that Ebola has reached the capital of Guinea, over three million people are at risk.

The Ebola virus causes Ebola virus disease (EVD) or Ebola hemorrhagic fever. It is a highly infectious pathogen with a mortality rate that can be as high as 90 percent. It is one of a family of viruses called filoviruses (in reference to their filament-like structure) which also includes the deadly Marburg hemorrhagic fever. Patients that fall ill with the Ebola virus develop a sudden fever and intense weakness. Subsequent bouts of vomiting and diarrhea, followed by shutting down of the kidneys and liver may further weaken the patient. In addition, perhaps the most characteristic symptom is the internal and external bleeding that led to Ebola’s classification as “hemorrhagic fever.”

Ebola virus can be passed from person to person. Even after a victim of the Ebola virus dies, his or her body remains a potent source of the virus. In particular infected blood can pose a public health threat because of the external bleeding that an Ebola infection causes. This puts people who are trying to administer care to Ebola-infected patients and people recruited to dispose of infected bodies at a particularly high risk.

Researchers first noticed people falling ill in early February, but it took nearly six weeks before they made the connection that these peculiar cases were being caused by the Ebola virus. Laboratory tests since confirmed the disease. To date, there are at least 103 suspected cases of Ebola, mostly in the remote forested regions of Gueckedou. Though such a remote location may help contain the virus, it also makes it challenging to mobilize resources to that area.

On March 28th, 2014 Dr. Sakoba Keita, health ministry spokesmen, announced that the Ebola virus had reached the capital of Guinea. The eight reported cases in Conakry were reported to have been caused by people that had had contact with the bodies of others who had died from the Ebola virus. Now the government is seeking to quarantine all individuals who have had contact with Ebola patients or the bodies of Ebola victims.

Nations neighboring Guinea are also concerned for the safety of their citizens. Both Sierra Leone and Liberia have 11 people that have died from a condition that was very similar to that caused by the Ebola virus. The governments of both these nations are particularly wary of the risks posed to densely-populated and impoverished regions where an infectious outbreak could be disastrous.

With the Ebola virus now having reached the capital of Guinea, authorities are doing their best to maintain control the situation before it gets out of the hand. Physical contact between individuals, even contact as seemingly innocuous as shaking hands, is not advised. Experts are also working to track down anyone who has had contact with infected persons and quarantining them. Above all citizens are advised not to panic.

Sources

CTV News

CBC News

BBC News 

World Health Organization

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