'I lost 10 relatives to Ebola'

  • 3 April 2014
  • From the section Africa
MSF workers carry the body of a person killed by the Ebola virus in Gueckedou, 1 April
Image caption Gueckedou is located near the centre of the latest Ebola outbreak

Ebola fever has killed at least 86 people in Guinea in recent weeks and another six in Liberia. Firmin Bogon, who lives in Gueckedou near the borders with Liberia and Sierra Leone, told BBC Afrique how he lost his sister, his wife, his stepmother and other loved ones to the virus.

My sister came to my home on her return from Sierra Leone and said she was unwell. We took her to a hospital, where tests were carried out and people said she had typhoid fever.

Doctors prescribed drugs but did not tell her to stay in hospital, so we treated her at home. Within a couple of days she passed away.

Nobody knew it was contagious, and she was looked after by many people. She must have contaminated others even after her death, while her body was taken away for burial in the village and people had access to it.

A few days later I noticed that several of those who had been near her had become ill. Then they started dying.

Her mum, who was staying with us, went first. Then my wife, who had looked after my sister, died as well. In all we have now lost about 10 family members.

My sister came to my home on 27 February and she died four days later. The others died in the five weeks since then.

My sister had been in Sierra Leone where she spent less than a week, then in Kisidougou in Guinea, so it is not clear where she caught this disease.

We only suspected an Ebola outbreak when a driver who was working for an aid agency in Macenta [in southern Guinea] died and tests on his remains were carried out. They confirmed he had Ebola fever.

Only then did people start taking precautionary measures, but it was too late.

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