|Suspected Ebola Case Conakry|
In Conakry, medical teams have now been assembled to locate and isolate suspected cases in the city. Guinean authorities have banned the eating of raw bat and monkey meat, which are believed to be the main vectors of the highly contagious and fatal virus.
The Guinean government has also appealed to the residents of the capital not to give in to panic, but to be very cautious in practicing basic hygiene, avoid eating raw bush meat, avoid interacting with people who are believed to be at risk, and reporting suspected cases promptly.
The confirmed cases of Ebola in Guinee have now exceeded 103 with at least 66 deaths and the tendency of the virus to wipe out entire families has brought the city to a state of near total panic. Health authorities in neighboring Sierra Leone have also started educating the citizens about the virus and warning them to take basic hygiene very seriously.
Ebola usually starts with malaria like symptoms characterized by general weakness, fever with chills, muscle, joint and chest pain. Those afflicted may also suffer nausea with vomiting and diarrhea. People may also develop respiratory symptoms with swelling of the neck, sore throat, coughs, shortness of breath and hiccups. Severe headache, agitation, confusion and seizures may also be present. Those infected may also start bleeding from the nose, ears and mucus membranes, including reproductive organs.
The Ebola virus has so many different symptoms that are similar to other tropical infections that most times the only way it is confidently diagnosed is when the health care workers taking care of the patients become sick themselves. The disease has no cure and has a fatality rate of 90% and it is only controlled by isolating those afflicted and strictly controlling their movement. This is the first reported case of Ebola in West Africa.
Ebola symptoms closely resembles symptoms of Lassa Fever, another hemorrhagic fever that originated from the village of Lassa in Nigeria and was responsible for the deaths of thousands of people in Segbwema, Tongo, Kenema and other main towns in Eastern Sierra Leone in the late 70s, 80s and 90s. The main Lassa fever research project in the country was located in Nixon Memorial Hospital in Segbwema and was one of the top most scientific medical research projects in a West Africa. Unfortunately the project became a victim of the country's civil war, was relocated to Kenema and lost a lot of its exemplary health care workers.