More than 90 people have already died in Guinea and Liberia in
what medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) has warned could
turn into an unprecedented epidemic in an impoverished region with
poor health services.
Foreign mining companies have locked down operations and pulled out
some international staff in mineral-rich Guinea. French health
authorities have also put doctors and hospitals on alert in case
people travelling to and from former colonies in the region pick up
Three people in Mali had been placed in quarantine and samples sent
off to Atlanta in the United States for tests, the government said
on state television late on Thursday.
"A high-speed intervention team has been created to follow the
evolution of the situation on the ground," the statement said. It
added that the health of the three suspected victims was showing
signs of improving.
The latest outbreak originated in Guinea two months ago and has
since spread to its neighbors Sierra Leone and Liberia. Gambia has
placed two people in quarantine although the health ministry since
said the cases were negative.
Many health systems in West Africa are poorly equipped to deal with
an epidemic and aid workers have warned of the difficulty of
fighting infections scattered across several locations and in
densely populated areas such as Guinea's capital Conakry.
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Guinea's health ministry said that two more suspected victims of the
virus had died, bringing its death count to 86. Liberia also
reported three new deaths among its suspected 14 cases, raising its
death toll to seven.
"We need to fight to contain it. A medical team from MSF came today
to help train some of our health workers," said Liberia's health
minister Walter Gwenegale.
The disease, which has killed 1,500 since it was first recorded in
1976 in what is now Democratic Republic of Congo, causes vomiting,
diarrhea and external bleeding. It has a fatality rate of up to 90
(Reporting by Adama Diarra and Saliou Samb; Additional reporting by
Alphonso Toweh in Monrovia; writing by Emma Farge; editing by Andrew
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