Ebola is a terrifying disease. It can spread through a number of vectors: sweat, blood, feces, and even contact with the contaminated dead. There’s no cure, and fatality rates can range from around 30 percent to as high as 90 percent. It’s the stuff of nightmares, and it’s happening right now in Guinea.The west African country is now dealing with what was, a week ago, considered the worst case scenario: for the first time, there are confirmed cases of the deadly disease in Guinea’s capital Conakry, home to 2 million people—roughly a quarter of the country’s population. The BBC reports:
Health Minister Remy Lamah said the virus appeared to have been transmitted by an man who showed symptoms of haemorrhagic fever after visiting Dinguiraye in central Guinea, far from the identified outbreaks of Ebola in the remote south-east.Four of the man’s brothers, who attended his funeral in the central town of Dabola, started to show the same symptoms and were tested for Ebola on their return to Conakry…The four have been placed in an isolation ward and the dead man’s family have also been quarantined, the minister said.
This looks to be the most dangerous Ebola outbreak yet. Hopefully the news will improve soon, but the startling spread of this deadly virus should remind us all that developing stronger health systems in Africa that can monitor and control outbreaks like this isn’t just charity. It is an investment that protects us all.