Red Cross responds to Ebola outbreak in Guinea
Guinea has been hit by an Ebola outbreak, an infectious and contagious disease that is spread through contact with an infected person’s or animal’s secretions, such as saliva, or blood. According to the Ministry of Health, the first suspected cases were registered in early February. As of March 27, the deadly haemorrhagic fever had claimed the lives of 66 people out of 103 cases reported across the country.
The Red Cross Society of Guinea has been working to raise awareness of Ebola. The Red Cross is training and mobilizing 100 volunteers to work in affected areas, where they will teach people how to protect themselves from the virus, assist in the removal of dead bodies, and monitor people who may have come in contact with infected persons.
In addition, the Red Cross has mobilized a Field Assessment Coordination Team to Guinea to assist in the assessment of the situation on the ground. This will include the deployment of a psychosocial support worker from the Canadian Red Cross. The team’s work will help inform future Red Cross response plans.
The Ebola outbreak comes at a time when the Red Cross Society of Guinea and other partners are already working with the government to address a cholera epidemic and an outbreak of measles. Symptoms of Ebola resemble those of cholera and measles, making it difficult to identify and confirm cases.