(FILES) In this file photo taken on November 7, 2018 a health worker waits to handle a new unconfirmed Ebola patient at a newly build MSF (Doctors Without Borders) supported Ebola treatment centre (ETC) in Bunia, Democratic Republic of the Congo. – Photographers for Agence France-Presse scooped up four nominations on February 20, 2019 in the prestigious 2019 World Press Photo of the Year Award, with the winners to be announced at a gala event in April. Kinshasa-based shooter John Wessels bagged two nominations in the General News – Singles category for including a picture taken of a Congolese health worker waiting for a suspected Ebola patient. (Photo by John WESSELS / AFP)
Agence France-Presse

A fourth Guinean Ebola patient died on Monday, the health agency said, as the government and aid groups began to roll out their response to the outbreak.

Guinea announced the outbreak on Saturday – the first in West Africa since a 2013-2016 epidemic that left more than 11 300 dead in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

There was initial confusion over the number of fatalities, but the deputy director-general of Guinea’s health agency, Bouna Yattassaye, told AFP that four people had now died.

“We recorded one death this morning,” he said.

The first confirmed victim was a 51-year-old nurse, who died in late January.

She was from Nzerekore near the town of Gouecke in the forested south of the country.

Two of the nurse’s brothers who attended her funeral on 1 February have also died, according to a health official who requested anonymity.

Yattassaye said the fourth person to die was an elderly woman but gave no further details.

The UN’s Guinea office tweeted that the first flight carrying experts and sanitary equipment arrived in Nzerekore on Monday.

Prime Minister Ibrahima Kassory Fofana said Guinea had “set up structures to deal with this type of epidemic”.

“No panic, let’s respect the sanitary instructions. Ebola will be defeated again,” he tweeted.


Vaccines on the way

Ebola causes severe fever and, in the worst cases, unstoppable bleeding. It is transmitted through close contact with bodily fluids, and people who live with or care for patients are most at risk.

An NGO official who spoke to AFP on condition of anonymity said he was concerned because health workers had not yet identified who infected the nurse.

But Alfred George Ki-Zerbo, the World Health Organisation’s representative in Guinea, said on Monday that Ebola vaccines could arrive in the poor nation of 13 million “within 72 hours”.

“Our priority is to complete the risk assessment on the ground and to analyse the cross-border dimension,” he said, referring to the area near the Liberian border where the virus re-emerged.

Guinea’s health agency is also increasing its capacity in the area.

Anja Wolz, the Ebola coordinator for Doctors Without Borders, said the NGO was sending an experienced medical team to meet local people and explain the need to follow health rules.

“We know that when such a frightening disease is misunderstood in the community, and individuals suddenly arrive giving instructions, in costumes resembling spacesuits, it can easily generate a hostile reaction,” she said.

Get more stories like this on Twitter


Recommended