In­fec­tious dis­ease cen­tre to fight Ebola launched

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Opinion/worldwide -

CONAKRY — Guinea launched a new in­fec­tious dis­ease cen­tre on Fri­day de­signed to safe­guard the west African na­tion against a new resur­gence in the Ebola virus, al­most three years after the epi­demic broke out.

Ebola’s “pa­tient zero”, a two-year-old boy liv­ing in the forests of south­ern Guinea, fell ill in De­cem­ber 2013 po­ten­tially after con­tact with a fruit bat, sci­en­tists be­lieve.

The new French-funded In­sti­tut Pas­teur in Conakry will con­duct re­search, train sci­en­tists and test for some of the world’s dead­li­est dis­eases, in­clud­ing Lassa fever, yel­low fever and Rift Val­ley fever, all of which threaten Guinea’s pop­u­la­tion.

Guinea lacked the re­sources to com­bat Ebola as it rav­aged the coun­try un­til all ac­tive cases were de­clared over five months ago, in­clud­ing the means of test­ing the virus quickly to stop its spread.

Since then France in par­tic­u­lar has poured money into en­sur­ing Guinea, a for­mer French colony, has ad­e­quate means to tackle deadly haem­or­rhagic fevers such as Ebola.

At a cer­e­mony in Conakry, French for­eign min­is­ter Jean-Marc Ayrault called the fu­ture cen­tre a “sym­bol of sol­i­dar­ity”, fol­low­ing Pres­i­dent Fran­cois Hol­lande’s visit at the height of the epi­demic in 2014.

It will be­gin op­er­a­tions in early 2017 but works to com­plete all the fa­cil­i­ties are ex­pected to take two years.

Ac­cord­ing to ex­perts, 75 per­cent of in­fec­tion dis­eases that af­fect hu­mans orig­i­nate from an­i­mal con­tact or an­i­mal prod­ucts we con­sume.

The sin­gle case of the boy in the Guinean vil­lage went on to in­fect 28 000 peo­ple and kill more than 11 000, ac­cord­ing to World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion fig­ures. — AFP

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