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Some Ebola patients ‘recovering’








Rose Komano, who has recovered from Ebola, is hugged by a nurse in GuineaRose Komano, who has recovered from Ebola, is hugged by a nurse in Guinea


At least seven patients infected with Ebola in Guinea have recovered from the virus and been allowed to return home, an international medical charity says.

Although the virus has a high mortality rate, a number of patients have managed to fight it off, Medecins Sans Frontieres has said.

There is no cure or vaccine for Ebola – one of the world’s deadliest viruses.

But people have a better chance of surviving if it is identified early and they get supportive medical care.

So far this outbreak has killed more than two-thirds of those who have been infected, including 101 people in Guinea and 10 in neighbouring Liberia.


Health specialists work in an isolation ward for patients in southern Guinea. Photo: 1 April 2014Health workers have to wear protective clothing

Ebola can kill up to 90% of those infected.

It is passed on through contact with the fluids of infected people or animals, such as urine, sweat and blood.


‘Cheering’

MSF, along with the UN World Health Organization (WHO) and other charities such as the International Federation of the Red Cross, is helping Guinea’s health ministry to try and contain the outbreak.

“When the first patient came out from the treatment centre, I was so happy and the whole team was cheering,” said Dr Marie-Claire Lamah, who works at a MSF Ebola treatment centre in Guinea’s capital, Conakry.

MSF spokesperson Sam Taylor says it shows patients are “able to beat” the disease.

“When you see them and you can hold their hand and see that they are totally fine, it improves everyone’s morale and it’s great news for the families and the communities these people are going back to,” he said.

MSF said the first patient to be discharged, an 18-year-old Rose Komano, was from their medical ward in Gueckedou, where the outbreak started.

“I don’t feel sick anymore and I’m really glad I recovered my health… I don’t understand why I become sick,” she told health workers.

Ms Komano had spent 10 days being treated by medics who could not touch her and were covered from head to toe in yellow protective gear.

She had to shower with chlorine and was given new clothes before being allowed to leave the ward.

The WHO says patients can be discharged from isolation units soon after their clinical symptoms, such as fever and diarrhoea, disappear.

“Ebola is clearly a very deadly disease, but a number of people manage to survive,” said Dr Philippe Barboza, a WHO epidemiologist in Conakry.

“Although there is no specific treatment, there is medical care that can be provided that can improve their [chances] of survival… supportive care includes rehydration, nutrition and pain relief.”

It is more than two months since the outbreak started in the south-east of Guinea.

The WHO says there could be more cases to come, and dealing with the outbreak could take months.

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