The incident on Tuesday in Gueckedou, about 650 kms (403 miles)
southeast of the capital Conakry, is the latest in a series against
health workers, undermining efforts to help the region's weak health
systems fight one of the world's deadliest diseases.
A Medicins Sans Frontieres center in nearby Macenta was attacked by
youths two months ago after staff there were accused of bringing the
disease to Guinea.
"Locals wielding knives surrounded a marked Red Cross vehicle. We've
suspended operations for safety reasons," a Red Cross official in
West Africa said, asking not to be named.
"I imagine this won't be the last time this happens," he added.
The outbreak of the disease in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone is
the largest and deadliest ever, according to the World Health
Organization (WHO). The organization has recorded 467 deaths from
759 known cases since February.
Local and foreign doctors are battling a deep-rooted fear and lack
of understanding of the disease, which has driven dozens of victims
to evade treatment and made it harder to track patients.
Health ministers from 11 West African states are meeting in Accra,
Ghana, on Wednesday and Thursday to try to coordinate the regional
response to the epidemic.
WHO has flagged three main factors driving the spread of Ebola - the
burial of victims in accordance with cultural practices and
traditional beliefs in rural communities, the dense population
around the capital cities of Guinea and Liberia and the bustling
cross-border trade across the region.
<For a map of the region affected by Ebola, please click - http://link.reuters.com/fyj32w>
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Ebola causes fever, vomiting, bleeding and diarrhoea and can kill up
to 90 percent of those it infects. Highly contagious, it is
transmitted through contact with the blood or other fluids of
infected people or animals.
Liberia's President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has called the crisis a
national public health emergency.
Addressing his nation for the first time about the issue late on
Tuesday, Sierra Leone's President Ernest Bai Koroma called for
leaders on all sides of the political divide to work together to
tackle the crisis.
"This is a national fight. And all must be involved," he said.
Koroma said that the government and the U.N. World Food Program had
started providing food aid to 30,000 people in the two districts
affected by Ebola.
(Additional reporting by Umaru Fofana; Editing by Bate Felix, David
Lewis and Sonya Hepinstall)
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