MS Risk Blog

Six People Placed in Isolation in Guinea after Transporting Ebola Victim in Taxi

Posted on in Guinea title_rule

Six people have been put in isolation in prison after being accused of travelling with a corpse of a relative who had died of Ebola.  If after twenty-one days they do not show any signs of having contracted the deadly virus, they will be tried for violating the health emergency.

According to Guinean authorities, the body was seated upright in a taxi, dressed in a T-shirt and jeans with sunglasses and sandwiched between three others.  The head of Guinea’s Ebola response, Dr Sakoba Keita, has indicated that those now in quarantine in prison had been travelling in a taxi with the body of the police recruit from the town of Forecariah towards the capital, Conakry.  They were stopped at an Ebola checkpoint where security officials became suspicious when the seemingly well-dressed passenger remained motionless.

Guinea is currently battling to control a recent flare up in Ebola cases.  Authorities have reported that relatives of Ebola victims are increasingly transporting their bodies on public transportation, seating the corpses upright between other passengers in a bid to avoid health controls.  According to Dr Keita, actions, such as transporting corpses in taxis, account for the continued spread of the Ebola epidemic.  Figures released by the World Health Organization (WHO) last week reported the highest number of cases in Guinea in more than a month, with at least twenty-seven new cases reported in one week.  They comes as officials were hoping that the outbreak in Guinea was finally coming under control, with neighbouring Liberia recently being declared Ebola-free and Sierra Leone registering only eight cases during the same period.  While it is against the law to transport bodies of Ebola victims from one community to another, according to Rabiatou Serah, a member of an anti-Ebola committee, relatives who are concealing bodies are managing to get past inspection agents.  Nearly 2,500 people have died in the West African country since the Ebola outbreak began more than a year ago.

Due to “a substantial increase” in the weekly total of new Ebola cases in Guinea, the WHO has deployed a response team to the border with Guinea-Bissau because the country’s proximity to a recent cluster of cases reported in the neighbouring Guinean prefecture.  In its latest update, the WHO reported that in the week ending on 17 May, 35 new cases were reported in Guinea and Sierra Leone, effectively the highest weekly total of confirmed cases of Ebola in over a month.  Guinea reported 27 of those cases, compared with seven that were recorded the week before.  A statement released by the WHO disclosed that “this is a substantial increase compared with nine cases reported the previous week.”  It further reported, “the geographical area of transmission has also expanded compared with recent weeks, with a total of six districts reporting cases (three in Guinea, three in Sierra Leone) compared with three the previous week (three in Guinea, one in Sierra Leone),” adding, “because of the proximity to Guinea-Bissau of the recent cluster of cases in the Guinean prefecture of Boke, a response team from Guinea-Bissau has been deployed to the border to assess points of entry… An epidemiological investigation team has also mobilized to ensure any contacts who cross the border are traced.”  The statement further noted, “the cases in Boke were tightly clustered in the coastal sub-prefecture of Kamsar, and initial investigations suggest they may have originated from a chain of transmission in Conakry.”  WHO officials have indicated that while the exact origin of the cluster in Boke remains unknown, an investigation has linked most of the confirmed cases to four probable cases who attended a funeral of another probable case in mid-April, which may have been the source of the outbreak.  Guinea-Bissau has not reported any cases of Ebola.

Tagged as: , , , , , ,