Doctors share horrors of West African Ebola virus outbreak as death toll climbs 80 (PHOTOS)
Blood-chilling accounts of suffering and death have emerged from Guinea, where an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus has claimed at least 80 lives. Although not yet the biggest outbreak in history, it has alarmed the world as the virus still has no cure.
Amid the total isolation of southern Guinea, the only area where deadly cases of the recent outbreak have been recorded, scarce reports have come out of the Gueckedou quarantine camp.
Set up near the Liberia and Sierra Leone borders by medical charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF), the makeshift clinic - which consists of two corrugated iron buildings and a tent village - currently has only 20 beds and a capacity for 50 patients, AFP reported.
Some of the medics have already witnessed many deaths at the camp. MSF's Naoufel Dridi told The Telegraph that he "never had to deal with this many bodies in these few days on any job before."
"You can be helping somebody by getting them a juice, or a glass of cold water, or whatever he wants because you know really he has very little chance to survive, and then less than an hour later he is dead," Dridi says.
"Then when you are putting his body in the bag, another one behind you has died. Then another one. One old woman died with very bad external bleeding from her body, the symptoms that are the worst of Ebola. It is very difficult," he added.
The highly-contagious illness is passed to humans through contact with bodies infected or killed by the virus. The 30 Guinean and foreign clinic workers dress in simple uniforms, but those in contact with patients are protected head to toe in sealed biohazard suits with gloves, goggles, masks, and boots.
Patients who develop the severely acute version of the virus often face fever, muscle pain, headaches, and sore throats, followed by vomiting, diarrhea, body rashes, and diminished kidney and liver function. Some Ebola patients suffer from internal and external bleeding.
"Our staff are aware that they must keep a safe distance...Once a person gets up, they discreetly spray the chair to prevent others from getting infected," Pascal Piguet, an MSF logistics expert, told AFP.
Five strains of Ebola - four of which are deadly to humans - have been discovered since the first outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1976. The Guinean government says the most volatile Zaire species has been detected in the latest epidemic.
Outside Guinea, neighboring West African countries like Sierra Leone and Liberia - where suspected cases have been detected - are working to control the outbreak. These countries have imposed health and travel restrictions in the meantime.
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