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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

3/23/2014 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Outbreak of 90 percent fatal 'body melt' virus first reported time in West Africa

At least 59 people in Guinea have died as a result of the outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus. The deadly hemorrhagic fever, which is 90 percent fatal, has spread quickly from southern communities in the West African nation. Symptoms -- diarrhea, vomiting and fever -- were first observed in patients last month. It's the first time the deadly "body melt" illness has been reported in West Africa.

The disease is mainly spread from infected people, from objects belonging to ill or dead people, and by the consumption of meat from animals in the bush, the Guinean Health Ministry warned.

The disease is mainly spread from infected people, from objects belonging to ill or dead people, and by the consumption of meat from animals in the bush, the Guinean Health Ministry warned.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

3/23/2014 (1 year ago)

Published in Africa

Keywords: Guinea, outbreak, ebola, deaths, West Africa


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Guinea Health Minister Remy Lamah says that initial test results confirm the presence of the viral hemorrhagic fever. UNICEF in a written statement said at least 59 out of 80 people who contracted Ebola have died. At least three of the victims were children.

"In Guinea, a country with a weak medical infrastructure, an outbreak like this can be devastating," the UNICEF representative in Guinea, Dr. Mohamed Ag Ayoya, says.

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The disease is mainly spread from infected people, from objects belonging to ill or dead people, and by the consumption of meat from animals in the bush, the Guinean Health Ministry warned.

Most of the Ebola cases have been in the forest area of southern Guinea. Health officials say they are offering free treatment for all patients. Officials are urging people not to panic, and to wash their hands frequently and report all cases to authorities.

The international medical charity Doctors Without Frontiers says it's bolstering its medical and logistics teams in Guinea in response to the epidemic. They are flying in 33 tons of medicines and equipment and setting up isolation units in the three affected areas in the country.

"Isolation units are essential to prevent the spread of the disease, which is highly contagious," Dr. Esther Sterk, MSF tropical medicine adviser, said in a written statement. "Specialized staff is providing care to patients showing signs of infection."

There are concerns that Ebola has spread to the neighboring nation of Sierra Leone. Sierra Leone's chief medical officer, Dr. Brima Kargbo, said authorities were investigating the case of a 14-year-old boy who died in the town of Buedu in the eastern Kailahun District.

The boy had travelled to Guinea to attend the funeral of one of the outbreak's earlier victims.

Among the most virulent pathogens known to infect humans, Ebola has been registered in three southeastern towns and in the capital Conakry since February 9. It has never before been recorded in Guinea.

"It is indeed Ebola fever. A laboratory in Lyon (France) confirmed the information," Damantang Albert Camara says.

Six of the 12 samples sent for analysis tested positive for Ebola, according to Dr. Sakoba Keita, who heads the epidemics prevention division at Guinea's health ministry. He added that health officials had registered 80 suspected cases of the disease.

"But you have to understand that not all the cases are necessarily due to Ebola fever. Some will have other origins, including a form of severe dysentery," Keita said.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Ebola constitutes a group of viruses that affect multiple organ systems in the body.

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