Fear is immense and extra-precaution has become like a lesson of gospel in West Africa, as Ebola continues to kill anyone who comes its way.
So far the incurable disease has killed a total of 337 people, including children, according to the latest figures from the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Ebola has claimed at least 254 lives in Guinea-Conakry, from where the disease launched its deadly attack on West Africa.
Medical experts say Ebola is spread by contact with bodily fluids including sweat and blood, meaning just touching an infected person or a dead person who died from it is enough to spread the virus.
The outbreak has forced countries such as Senegal to close its borders with Guinea to try to keep out the disease.
“It’s frustrating because I couldn’t travel to Conakry after Senegal closed the border,” Esther Tetteh, a Ghanaian businesswoman who regularly travels between Accra, Conakry and Dakar, told Moon of the South.
Now, Ebola has set its sights on Guinea’s neighbours Sierra Leone and Liberia, where it has already killed dozens and sowed panic. Health officials in these countries have been telling people to leave the infected areas, wash their hands regularly and avoid handshakes whenever possible.
“I don’t know what to say, it’s scary and it looks unstoppable. I was in Dakar when it broke out in the south-east of Guinea and we heard stories of people dying within three minutes of being infected.
Ebola is thought to have been ‘born’ 20 years ago in Cameroon (Central Africa), where a villager and his family ate meat from a dead monkey the man found lying in the bush. Within five minutes the whole family was wiped out due to excessive diarrhea and vomiting, severe fever and muscle pain that would later cause organ failure.
While Western expatriates have been fleeing West Africa for fear of being contaminated, officials from WHO as well as NGOs such as Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) were said to be overwhelmed by the unusual spreading of the disease in unexpected places.
Image: an Ebola patient waiting to die. Credit: