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Flare-up of Ebola epidemic kills five in Guinea: Health officials

22 March 2016 22:22


A flare-up of Ebola epidemic in Guinea has killed at least five people since December last year when the West African country was declared free of Ebola virus transmission.

This came after a center that coordinates Guinea’s fight against the virus confirmed two more deaths registered in recent days.

“Since the re-emergence of the disease, we have recorded five deaths, three probable and two confirmed,” Fode Tass Sylla, spokesman for the government’s Ebola response unit, said in the capital, Conakry, on Tuesday.

The world’s worst recorded Ebola epidemic started in Guinea and killed about 2,500 people there by December last year.

Meanwhile, the new outbreak in Guinea has prompted fear in neighboring Liberia, which has lost more than 4,000 people to the deadly virus.

Liberian Information Minister Eugene Nagbe said on Tuesday that Monrovia had closed a portion of Liberia’s northern border with Guinea and planned to expand the cordon amid a resurgence of the virus.

The tropical hemorrhagic virus emerged in southern Guinea in December 2013, infecting nearly 29,000 people. The disease later spread into neighboring Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Official data show the outbreak killed at least 11,315 people, but the actual toll is thought to be much higher as many deaths have purportedly not been reported.

The World Health Organization (WHO) was harshly criticized for its slow response to the outbreak as local healthcare systems were not equipped enough to handle it.

The deadly virus causes severe fever and muscle pain, weakness, vomiting and diarrhea. The epidemic in many cases shuts down organs and leads to unstoppable internal bleeding.

Close contact with the sweat, vomit, blood or other bodily fluids of a patient, or the recently deceased could cause the contagious disease to spread.

A small number of Ebola cases were also recorded in Mali, Senegal and Nigeria.

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