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Outbreak in Africa
Ebola Spreads Like Wildfire

At least 59 people have died of Ebola in southern Guinea, and the virus appears to be spreading from rural communities to the capital. Conakry is a port city with a population of more than two million, according to the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Yahoo News reports:

Officials from the health ministry and the World Health Organization (WHO) met on Sunday in Conakry for urgent talks on the crisis. […]

Aid organisation Plan International warned that the epidemic risked spreading to neighbouring countries because of the free movement of people across borders.

“Communities, especially children, in the border areas between Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone are vulnerable and need immediate support. A large-scale preventive action will need to be put in place rapidly,” Ibrahima Toure, Plan’s country director in Guinea, said in a statement.

As experts fly in to help track the progress of the disease, aid agencies and governments are scrambling to control it. Sierra Leone has sent medical teams to investigate cases of fever near its border. UNICEF is urging Guineans not to attend funerals of those killed by the virus. The WHO and Doctors Without Borders are working to distribute sanitation kits. The French embassy in Liberia has warned its nationals against travel to southern Guinea.

The Ebola virus spreads through contact with feces, blood, sweat, and contact with contaminated corpses. There is no treatment for the disease, and death rates for certain strains can reach 90 percent. An outbreak on this scale is, in a word, terrifying.

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