Skip to main content

At least 59 people dead in Guinea Ebola outbreak

By Christabelle Fombu and Susanna Capelouto, CNN
March 23, 2014 -- Updated 1528 GMT (2328 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Medical charity MSF to set up isolation units in affected areas
  • At least 59 out of 80 who contracted Ebola have died, UNICEF says
  • Most cases were in Guinea's southern forest areas, health minister says
  • Symptoms include fever, vomiting and diarrhea

(CNN) -- An Ebola outbreak has killed at least 59 people in Guinea, UNICEF said, as the deadly hemorrhagic fever has quickly spread from southern communities in the West African nation.

Experts in the country had been unable to identify the disease, whose symptoms -- diarrhea, vomiting and fever -- were first observed last month.

Health Minister Remy Lamah said Saturday initial test results confirm the presence of a viral hemorrhagic fever, which according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention refers to a group of viruses that affect multiple organ systems in the body.

In a written statement, UNICEF said at least 59 out of 80 people who contracted Ebola have died. At least three of the victims were children.

How Ebola virus spreads

"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, said in the statement.

UNICEF has prepositioned supplies and stepped up communication on the ground to sensitize medical staff and local populations on how to avoid contracting the illness, Agoya added.

Isolation units

The Guinean Health Ministry warned that 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.

So far, most of the cases have been in the forest area of southern Guinea, and health officials say they are offering free treatment for all patients.

They've urged people to stay calm, wash their hands and report all cases to authorities.

The international medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres announced on Saturday it was reinforcing its medical and logistics teams in Guinea in response to the epidemic.

It is also 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 are providing care to patients showing signs of infection."

2012: Uganda declares end of Ebola outbreak

CNN's Marie-Louise Gumuchian and Nana Karikari-apau contributed to this report

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 2245 GMT (0645 HKT)
Pakistan Taliban say the school attack was revenge for the killing of children in a military offensive -- but they are being pressed by defections to ISIS.
A group that claims it hacked Sony Pictures has posted a public threat against moviegoers who see Sony's "The Interview."
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 0243 GMT (1043 HKT)
The gunman behind the deadly siege in Sydney this week was not on a security watch list, and Australia's Prime Minister wants to know why.
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 0948 GMT (1748 HKT)
Bestselling author Marjorie Liu had set her sights on being a lawyer, but realized it wasn't what she wanted to do for the rest of her life.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 2027 GMT (0427 HKT)
CNN's Matthew Chance looks into an HRW report saying Russia has "legalized discrimination against LGBT people."
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 0212 GMT (1012 HKT)
The Sydney siege has brought home some troubling truths to Australians. They are not immune to what are often called "lone-wolf" terror attacks.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 0012 GMT (0812 HKT)
A social media campaign condemning Islamophobia under the hashtag #illridewithyou has taken off after Sydney hostage siege.
Bill Cosby has kept quiet as sexual assault allegations mounted against him, but his wife, Camille, finally spoke out in defense of her husband.
December 15, 2014 -- Updated 1144 GMT (1944 HKT)
China-bound AirAsia flight turns back to Bangkok after passenger throws water over crew member.
December 15, 2014 -- Updated 1026 GMT (1826 HKT)
It takes Nepalese eye doctor, Sanduk Ruit about five minutes to change someone's life.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 1054 GMT (1854 HKT)
This epic journey crosses 13,000 kilometers, eight countries over 21 days. Find out where.
December 19, 2014 -- Updated 1431 GMT (2231 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT