In Equatorial Guinea, there’s not yet a confirmed diagnosis of the suspected hemorrhagic fever illness that has claimed up to 20 lives and forced a lockdown in the Nsok Nsomo and Kie Ntem districts near the border with Gabon and Cameroon.
Health officials on Sunday were still waiting for laboratory test results on samples that were sent to Gabon and Senegal for testing. Mitoha Ondo’o Ayekaba, health minister for the small West African nation, said Equatorial Guinea first identified nine people with symptoms of fever, joint pain and weakness, vomiting blood, and diarrhea, all of whom were believed to have attended the same village funeral.
But a statement from the government of Cameroon put the death toll in Equatorial Guinea at 20, with authorities in Yaoundé putting border crossing restrictions in place within their Ambam, Kye-Ossi and Olamze districts in order to limit the possibility of the disease spreading.
While the symptoms are similar to those seen with the Ebola virus, they also may be caused by other hemorrhagic fevers, health experts said.
Neighboring Gabon also has stepped up its health surveillance efforts, saying it would take samples from all travelers entering from Equatorial Guinea. The samples will be tested at the Interdisciplinary Center for Medical Research in Franceville.
Gabon also planned public education and sanitation efforts in communities along its border with Equatorial Guinea, with health minister Dr. Guy Patrick Obiang Ndong visiting the affected region on Saturday.
Image: Ministry of Health, Equatorial Guinea
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