An additional foe in the Guinea Ebola outbreak: geography

From the Guardian today:

“We are facing an epidemic of a magnitude never before seen in terms of the distribution of cases in the country,” said Mariano Lugli, the co-ordinator of Médecins sans Frontières’ project in Conakry, the capital of Guinea.

The organisation said on Monday it had been involved in dealing with nearly all other recent Ebola outbreaks, mostly in remote parts of central African nations, but Guinea is fighting to contain the disease in numerous locations, some of which are hundreds of miles apart.

You don’t need an overwhelming number of sick individuals to hinder virus containment. If the sick are dispersed across the country a concentrated relief effort is going to be less effective. Neighbouring countries are trying to prevent the virus entering in the first place, with Senegal closing its Southern border into Guinea. However, note the following from ProMED-mail’s Jack Woodall:

“Senegal has closed its southern border with Guinea.” Anyone who has lived in Africa knows this is impossible. Extended families live on both sides of the frontiers and people travel across unhindered on local footpaths.

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