Ebola patients await death in Guinea wards

April 3, 2014 by Boubacar Diallo
Health workers teach people about the Ebola virus and how to prevent infection, in Conakry, Guinea, Monday, March 31, 2014. Health authorities in Guinea are facing an "unprecedented epidemic" of Ebola, the international aid group Doctors Without Borders warned Monday as the death toll from the disease that causes severe bleeding reached 78. The outbreak of Ebola in Guinea poses challenges never seen in previous outbreaks that involved "more remote locations as opposed to urban areas," said Doctors Without Borders. (AP Photo/ Youssouf Bah)

Bakari Soumaoro carried his sick friend all the way to the hospital on his back, not realizing that the man's fever and chills were caused by one of the deadliest diseases on Earth.

A week after his friend died, Soumaoro himself fell ill.

Hospital officials soon determined that both men had contracted Ebola, a disease causing severe bleeding that had never before struck this corner of West Africa. The outbreak has killed more than 86 people in Guinea and Liberia, and it's not over.

Soumaoro, a driver for an aid group, Plan International, died soon after symptoms appeared. Before long, everyone who had visited him at the hospital was placed into an isolation ward set up by health workers here.

"Fortunately after the waiting period we all tested negative, thanks be to God," said Mamady Drame, the local director for Plan International in Macenta, 715 kilometers (445 miles) southeast of the capital, Conakry.

Ebola is so virulent that those who do test positive can only wait to die in a special ward where they are treated by medical personnel wearing protective suits and gear. The Zaire strain detected in Guinea kills up to 90 percent of its victims, and with no cure all that can be done is to make patients comfortable as their organs begin failing.

Health workers teach people about the Ebola virus and how to prevent infection, in Conakry, Guinea, Monday, March 31, 2014. Health authorities in Guinea are facing an "unprecedented epidemic" of Ebola, the international aid group Doctors Without Borders warned Monday as the death toll from the disease that causes severe bleeding reached 78. The outbreak of Ebola in Guinea poses challenges never seen in previous outbreaks that involved "more remote locations as opposed to urban areas," said Doctors Without Borders. (AP Photo/ Youssouf Bah)

The West African nation of Guinea is among the poorest in the world, and is severely lacking in outside Conakry. Those who have been exposed to Ebola in southern Guinea are kept in one ward. If it's confirmed they do have Ebola, they then are moved to the second pavilion to await death.

Three more suspected cases were put into quarantine on Wednesday in Macenta, where already 14 people have died.

It's a similar situation in neighboring Liberia, where health officials say the deaths of two sisters have been confirmed as Ebola. One of the women left behind a baby and a husband who are now in isolation.

The cases have been dramatic: One man dropped dead only 30 minutes after he arrived at a hospital in Liberia. Another person was taken not to a clinic, but to a church for a prayer of divine intervention. She died on Wednesday.

Amid Ebola's near-certain death sentence, fear and panic have spread. Passengers fled a bus after an elderly man vomited on board. In neighboring Liberia, one market emptied out when people falsely believed they could catch the disease simply from breathing the same air as victims. In Liberia's capital, Monrovia, cashiers at one grocery store wore rubber gloves to protect themselves.

In southern Guinea, church pews are now empty on Sundays. People are fearful of shaking hands and instead make the sign of the cross when they greet a friend or loved one.

"Here it's like time has stopped. Every day is potentially dangerous for us. And it's only God who can save us from this disease," said Lalla Balde, who lives in Macenta.

"We don't know what sin we have committed so that the Ebola fever has befallen us," said another resident, Cece Lohalamou. "We already have enough problems here."

Explore further: Senegal closes border with Guinea over Ebola fears

Related Stories

Senegal closes border with Guinea over Ebola fears

March 30, 2014
Senegal has closed its land border with neighboring Guinea to prevent the spread of the Ebola outbreak, which has killed at least 70 people.

Liberia confirms first Ebola cases

March 31, 2014
Liberia has confirmed two cases of the deadly Ebola virus that is suspected to have killed at least 78 people in neighbouring Guinea, according to the World Health Organization.

Eight cases of Ebola turn up in Guinea's capital

March 28, 2014
Health officials in the West African nation of Guinea say they're now treating eight cases of Ebola in the capital.

Guinea reports Ebola death toll rises to 78

March 31, 2014
Health authorities in Guinea are facing an "unprecedented epidemic" of Ebola, an international aid group warned Monday as the death toll from the disease that causes severe bleeding reached 78.

Ebola outbreak in Guinea an 'unprecedented epidemic', MSF says (Update)

March 31, 2014
Aid organisation Doctors Without Borders said Monday an Ebola outbreak suspected of killing at least 78 people in Guinea was an "unprecedented epidemic" that had spread across the west African nation.

Five new Ebola cases in Guinea in 24 hours

April 2, 2014
Five new cases of the deadly Ebola virus have been recorded in Guinea in the past 24 hours, the World Health Organization said Wednesday.

Recommended for you

Google searches can be used to track dengue in underdeveloped countries

July 20, 2017
An analytical tool that combines Google search data with government-provided clinical data can quickly and accurately track dengue fever in less-developed countries, according to new research published in PLOS Computational ...

MRSA emerged years before methicillin was even discovered

July 19, 2017
Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) emerged long before the introduction of the antibiotic methicillin into clinical practice, according to a study published in the open access journal Genome Biology. It was ...

New test distinguishes Zika from similar viral infections

July 18, 2017
A new test is the best-to-date in differentiating Zika virus infections from infections caused by similar viruses. The antibody-based assay, developed by researchers at UC Berkeley and Humabs BioMed, a private biotechnology ...

'Superbugs' study reveals complex picture of E. coli bloodstream infections

July 18, 2017
The first large-scale genetic study of Escherichia coli (E. coli) cultured from patients with bloodstream infections in England showed that drug resistant 'superbugs' are not always out-competing other strains. Research by ...

Ebola virus can persist in monkeys that survived disease, even after symptoms disappear

July 17, 2017
Ebola virus infection can be detected in rhesus monkeys that survive the disease and no longer show symptoms, according to research published by Army scientists in today's online edition of the journal Nature Microbiology. ...

Mountain gorillas have herpes virus similar to that found in humans

July 13, 2017
Scientists from the University of California, Davis, have detected a herpes virus in wild mountain gorillas that is very similar to the Epstein-Barr virus in humans, according to a study published today in the journal Scientific ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.