Ebola outbreak: Guinea closes its borders to contain virus

It is hoped the country can protect itself from any further surge in cases

HEALTH CORRESPONDENT

Guinea has closed its borders with its neighbours Sierra Leone and Liberia in the latest bid to slow the spread of the deadly Ebola virus, which has killed close to 1,000 people in West Africa.

The outbreak, which began in Guinea in February, is now spreading more rapidly in Sierra Leone and Liberia. Ebola has killed at least 376 people in Guinea and 18 others are being treated in isolation. However, no new cases were recorded in the country between Monday and Wednesday last week, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). It is hoped that by shutting the border, Guinea can protect itself from any further surge in cases.

Meanwhile in Nigeria, the latest country to see transmission of Ebola, authorities in the capital Lagos have called for volunteers to aid the medical response after the number of known and possible cases in the country rose to 13.

Nigeria declared a state of emergency after two people died of Ebola in Lagos, a city of 21 million people. Doctors suspended a nationwide strike on Thursday in response to the outbreak, but it was unclear how many had returned to work, Nigeria's Guardian newspaper reported yesterday.

The Lagos state health commissioner, Jide Idris, said there was a "shortage of personnel" and promised incentives to medical volunteers including life insurance.

The WHO has declared Ebola a public health emergency of international concern, but has not recommended any global travel restrictions. However, a number of states, as well as airlines, have taken unilateral measures to prevent the passage of potential Ebola carriers across borders.

So far, no cases of Ebola transmission have been recorded outside of Africa. In the latest incident a man has been isolated at a hospital in Ontario, Canada, with flu-like symptoms after travelling from Nigeria.

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