Following the announcement of eight confirmed cases of ebola in the capital Conarky, the aid agency Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF), says Guinea is facing an unprecedented outbreak of the deadly virus.
It is the pattern of spread – affecting some locations that are hundreds of kilometers apart – that has prompted this statement, as Mariano Lugli, coordinator of MSF’s project in Conakry, explains:
“We are facing an epidemic of a magnitude never before seen in terms of the distribution of cases in the country: Gueckedou, Macenta Kissidougou, Nzerekore, and now Conakry.”
The news comes as the World Health Organization (WHO) distributes 3.5 tons of protective material to health facilities in different parts of the West African country.
The equipment, which includes materials for single-use personal protection, disinfection and secure burial, is to help health workers deal with a virus that kills 9 out of 10 people it infects, and for which there is no treatment or vaccine, meaning the only way to stop it spreading is through prevention.
Dr. Lansana Kourouma, head of the emergency section of the Chinese-Guinean Friendship hospital in Conakry, says the protection equipment is essential as they are not able to be in contact with patients who may be infected.
“With protection equipment we feel reassured and can do our job to help patients,” says Dr. Kourouma, whose team is currently caring for five patients under observation.
MSF reports that more than 40 tons of equipment has already been flown to Guinea to help MSF teams curb the spread of the disease. The teams include doctors, nurses, epidemiologists, water and sanitation experts, as well as anthropologists.
The WHO reports that half of the people infected in Conakry are health workers.
SOURCE: Medical News Today