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Guinea Says 59 People Have Died In Ebola Outbreak

The West African country of Guinea said on Sunday that 59 people have died during an outbreak of Ebola.

The AP reports this is the first time an outbreak of the virus has been detected among humans in the country.

Reporting from Dakar, Senegal, NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reports the death toll may be as high as 80. Ofeibea reports that the medical charity Doctors Without Borders is already overwhelmed. She filed this report for our Newscast unit:

"Emergency physician, Armand Sprecher, works for Doctors Without Borders in Guinea. He warns there's no known cure for the highly contagious fever which began last month and may have spread to neighboring Sierra Leone.

'There's no specific medicine for Ebola,' Sprecher said. 'We try to support the patient's blood pressure and provide them with some symptomatic relief. But all of the miracle drugs are still in the laboratory. They're not out there for use in humans, I'm afraid.'

"Ebola symptoms include bleeding, diarrhoea and vomiting. There have been previous outbreaks in remote areas of DRCongo and Uganda. Doctors Without Borders will reinforce its team in Guinea and fly in more drugs and isolation equipment from Belgium and France."

CNN reports "most of the cases have been in the forest area of southern Guinea, and health officials say they are offering free treatment for all patients."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.