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For the first time in West Africa, a case of Ebola was confirmed on 21 March, three weeks after the first alert of a possible viral haemorrhagic fever emerged from Guinea’s Forest region. Animals such as fruit bats, rodents and monkeys, abundant in the adjacent rain forest, are believed to have served as ‘reservoir’ for the virus. However, once it passed from an infected animal to a human-being, the virus is now ready for human-to-human transmission. Though frightening and very lethal, relatively simple precautions can break the cycle of transmission and stop the epidemic from spreading.
Dr Jean-Louis Mosser, a health expert from the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO), is in the Guinean capital, Conakry, where he has been participating in crisis meetings and guiding ECHO’s response. He gives us a state of affairs.