Via Haaretz: Israeli in Guinea: Ebola epidemic is spinning out of control. Excerpt:
The Ebola epidemic in West Africa is worsening as bodies lie in city streets and entire villages are wiped out, an Israeli based in Guinea says.
“I’ve been working with humanitarian-aid groups for 12 years and have been in Ebola-stricken areas four times, three of them in Guinea, but the current outbreak is the worst,” said Eyal Reinich of the Swiss branch of Doctors without Borders.
The disease, currently spreading across Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, has a 90-percent mortality rate and no cure. Reinich isn’t optimistic about containing the outbreak of the illness, marked by diarrhea, bleeding and vomiting.
“This is the most virulent Ebola virus I’ve encountered,” he said. “We don’t know how to assess the scope yet, but the actual numbers are higher than the published ones. The outbreak is coming from all directions.”
Reinich, who has been in Guinea since May, spoke to Haaretz by satellite phone from the town of Guéckédou near the border with Sierra Leone and Liberia — the outbreak’s center.
“Entire villages have been wiped out,” he said. “You come to villages and only find bodies. You don’t know if all the inhabitants died or if some simply fled. It’s a virus with a 90-percent death risk in these regions and we don’t know what condition the people who have fled are in.”
The panic in the afflicted countries is making it hard to contain the epidemic, even before considering other scourges like the Lassa virus and malaria, which are also spreading.
“Villagers are fleeing as if it were a civil war, which increases the spread of Ebola,” Reinich said. “They disappear into jungles and other places and become vagrants. So we’re constantly finding the virus in places we didn’t know about.” In some cases, aid workers like local Red Cross people also panic and run, Reinich says.
And this is in Guinea, which has reported far fewer cases recently than Liberia and Sierra Leone.