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Bat-eating ban to curb Ebola virus

File photo of officials from the World Health Organization in protective clothing preparing to enter Kagadi Hospital in Kibale District, about 200 kilometres from Kampala, where an outbreak of Ebola virus started (28 July 2012)There is no known cure or vaccine for Ebola

Guinea has banned the sale and consumption of bats to prevent the spread of the deadly Ebola virus, its health minister has said.

Bats appeared to be the “main agents” for the Ebola outbreak in the remote south, Rene Lamah said.

Sixty-two people have now been killed by the virus in Guinea, with suspected cases reported in neighbouring Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Ebola is spread by close contact and kills between 25% and 90% of victims.

There is no known cure or vaccine.

Symptoms include internal and external bleeding, diarrhoea and vomiting.

‘Quarantine sites’

It is said to be the first time Ebola has struck Guinea, with recent outbreaks thousands of miles away, in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Mr Lamah announced the ban on the sale and consumption of bats during a tour of Forest Region, the epicentre of the epidemic, reports the BBC’s Alhassan Sillah from the capital, Conakry.

The medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres said it had set up two quarantine sites in southern Guinea to try to contain the outbreak, the Associated Press news agency reports.

Health officials reported one more death on Tuesday, bringing the number of people killed by Ebola to 62, our correspondent says.

Sierra Leone’s health ministry said it was investigating two suspected cases of Ebola, the AFP news agency reports.

Medical supplies being loaded in Guinea's capital, Conakry (24 March 2014)Aid agencies and the government are taking medical supplies to the affected areas in Guinea

“We still do not have any confirmed cases of Ebola in the country,” its chief medical officer Brima Kargbo is quoted as saying.

“What we do have are suspected cases, which our health teams are investigating and taking blood samples from people who had come in contact with those suspected to have the virus,” he added.

Mr Kargbo said the one suspected case involved a 14-year-old boy who was thought to have died two weeks ago in Guinea and then brought to his village on the Sierra Leonean side of the border in the eastern district of Kono.


The other case was in the northern border district Kambia, he added, without giving further details.

“This is the first time such a national health threat has come to our borders. In any case, we are prepared and on the alert in readiness in case the disease is diagnosed in Sierra Leone,” Mr Kargbo was quoted as saying by AFPs.

Five people are reported to have died in Liberia after crossing from southern Guinea for treatment, Liberia’s Health Minister Walter Gwenigale told journalists on Monday.

However, it is not clear whether they had Ebola.

Outbreaks of Ebola occur primarily in remote villages in central and west Africa, near tropical rainforests, the World Health Organization says.

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