(WASHINGTON) — Health officials in Guinea are working to contain an outbreak of Ebola that has killed at least 60 people and sickened dozens more, according to the World Health Organization.
The outbreak is spreading through forests in the West African country’s southeast, and may have crossed borders into Liberia and Sierra Leone, WHO said.
“Multidisciplinary teams have been deployed to the field to strengthen surveillance, sensitize and educate the public, manage case and implement appropriate infection prevention and control measures in health facilities and communities affected,” WHO said in a statement.
Ebola is a deadly type of hemorrhagic fever caused by a group of viruses. The virus suspected in the Guinea outbreak is the Zaire ebolavirus, which was last seen in in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2009. It’s the deadliest ebolavirus, with a fatality rate approaching 90 percent.
The virus is transmitted through contact with blood or secretions from an infected person, either directly or through contaminated needles or medical equipment. The term “hemorrhagic fever” means it causes bleeding inside and outside the body. There’s no cure.
“There’s nothing quite as frightening as stepping into an Ebola ward, knowing that one mistake, one slip of a mask or a glove, might lead to an untreatable deadly disease,” said ABC News’ chief health and medical editor, Dr. Richard Besser, who travelled to Uganda in 2012 during an Ebola outbreak. “The medical teams and public health investigators working in Guinea right now are true heroes. They know that their work is critically important and is essential to saving lives.”
Four health care workers are among the 86 suspected cases in Guinea, WHO said.
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio
David Mark, CNN Newswire
David Williams, CNN