Public health announcements and hygiene advice are doing little to stem the tide of panic among the citizens of Guinea as an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus appears to be spreading.
Bans have also been introduced on the eating of bush meat and bats – a local delicacy – which appear to be the main agents for the outbreak.
At least 62 people have died so far and there are more suspected cases.
Since the spread of the the virus to the capital Conakry, the government is determined to get its message across.
Alseny Sotis Soumah, an office worker in the capital, said he’d received text messages containing government advice:
“We were told, for example to avoid organic liquids like urine, perspiration and other things. The advice was transmitted to us on phone messages.”
Mamdouba Sylla who also lives in Conakry was clear about what had to be done:
“We must clean up the city to fight against this disease. We must make sure of it, because everybody’s afraid for their life. We must fight against dirt.”
Guinea’s neighbours with weak healthcare systems are scrambling to act after several people in Sierra Leone and Liberia presented symptoms of the disease.
Ebola which causes fever and vomiting along with internal and external bleeding has a 74 percent fatality rate and has no known cure.
Although the virus is rare, bad sanitation and poor living conditions can act as a breeding ground.