The 2014 Ebola outbreak centered in the western African nation of Guinea has killed at least 74 people, but is now under control, according to the country’s president. But the international medical aide group Doctors Without Frontiers is staying in place in West Africa, warning that the outbreak is far from over.
The Ebola outbreak began in February, 2014, but was not identified until March. Since then cases of Ebola hemmorhagic fever, the fast-acting, gruesome and mostly fatal disease have spread to neighboring countries Liberia and Sierra Leone.
Throughout the West African region, 147 people have died from Ebola in the 2014 outbreak, according to the World Health Organization. There may be more than 74 fatal cases in Guinea, but that is the number so far definitely confirmed as Ebola.
“For the moment the situation is well in hand, and we touch wood that there won’t be any new cases,” Guinea President Alpha Conde said earlier this week. He added that the Ebola death toll is likely to top 74 as some currently hospitalized patients will inevitably succumb to the horrifying illness.
“There haven’t been any new cases. But of those who remain in quarantine, there certainly will be some who will die,” said Conde.
But Doctors Without Frontiers — known in Africa by its French name, Medicins Sans Frontieres — was not as quick to declare an end to the 2014 Ebola virus outbreak.
“We remain vigilant and cannot say that the outbreak is over, as we continue to see new confirmed patients and are continuing to provide care for the patients who remain in treatment centers” said the group’s Marc Poncin, who is coordinating the emergency Ebola response in Guinea.
“We have to remember that this is a new disease for Guineans, and that there remains significant fear and stigma associated with it,” said Doctors Without Frontiers medical coordinator Armand Sprecher. “We understand this fear, and have seen it in previous outbreaks in other countries. More work by all the actors involved in the epidemic is still needed to ensure that populations affected have the correct information, and seek prompt medical attention.”
Four Ebola patients are now in being treated in the Guinea capital of the capital Conakry. Six more remain under care in the southeastern town of Gueckedou, where the 2014 outbreak originated.
But there has been no new Ebola case in the country since last Sunday and no new Ebola cases have been reported in Liberia in the last three weeks.
Image: Medicins Sans Frontieres