Ebola toll rises to 74 in Guinea

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IOL pic apr1 Guinea West Africa Ebola

Associated Press

Health workers inform people about the Ebola virus and how to prevent infection in Conakry, Guinea. File picture: Youssouf Bah

Conakry - Guinea said on Tuesday that 74 people had died so far this year in one of the worst ever outbreaks of the Ebola virus.

The health ministry said there had been 121 confirmed cases of Ebola - an incurable disease that can kill up to 90 percent of its victims - since January.

Four people are receiving treatment in the capital Conakry, and six in Gueckedou, in the south of the country, which has seen one of the most serious outbreaks.

But the ministry said there had been “no new cases of Ebola recorded” since Sunday.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has described west Africa's first Ebola outbreak as one of the most challenging since the virus emerged in 1976 in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The disease has spread to neighbouring Liberia, with suspected cases reported in Mali and Sierra Leone.

Ebola leads to haemorrhagic fever, causing muscle pain, weakness, vomiting, diarrhoea and, in severe cases, organ failure and unstoppable bleeding.

Guinea's 121 confirmed cases form part of a bigger caseload of viral haemorrhagic fever in the country, although not all victims have been confirmed as having the Ebola virus.

The WHO said Friday there had been 218 cases of this type of fever in the country since January.

So far, experts have not been able to determine what those testing negative for Ebola have caught.

There is no vaccine or cure for Ebola, which can easily spread among humans through contact with infected blood, bodily fluids and tissue. The most severe strains have had a 90 percent fatality rate.

The virus can be stopped only by isolating suspected cases in ultra-clean conditions and quarantining those who have been in contact with them. - Sapa-AFP


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