Roadside bandits in Guinea steal suspected Ebola blood samples

November 21, 2014 | By | Reply More

Nov 21, – It was a highway robbery but the bandits got more than they bargained for when they stopped a taxi van in Guinea and made off with blood samples that are believed to be infected with the deadly Ebola virus.

hromedia Roadside bandits in Guinea steal suspected Ebola blood samples intl. news2Authorities publicly appealed on national radio Friday to the unidentified robbers to hand over the samples that were stolen from the minibus taxi during its 265-kilometer (165-mile) trek from central Kankan prefecture to a test site in southern Gueckedou.

The samples were drawn from a single person and were stored in a sealed container, and handed off to the taxi driver when armed bandits stopped the vehicle the aid group had commissioned near the town of Kissidougou, said Faya Etienne Tolno, a press officer for the Guinea Red Cross.

Tolno explained that the Guinea Red Cross did not have its own vehicles for transport, which explains why a taxi was commissioned. No one was injured in the incident, which took place on a road known for banditry.

“We don’t understand why they stole the blood sample. Perhaps they thought there was cash hidden in the flask,” Tolno said.

Dr. Barry Moumie, who heads patient care for the national Ebola response coordination committee, told The Associated Press: “We have informed the security services. If these thieves handle this blood, it will be dangerous.”

Ebola is spread primarily by contact with infected bodily fluids including blood, feces and vomit.

“I can assure you, however, that the sample-transportation procedures will now be strengthened to avoid such disappointments,” Moumie said.

The theft underscores how hazards abound and hiccups remain in the aid response, despite millions of dollars’ worth of international support pouring into West Africa to fight a virus now responsible for more than 5,000 deaths in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

Pres journalist for Hromedia – Dr. Carlso reports

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Category: Health and Fitness, International

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