Miners in lock-down as Ebola death toll hits 83 in Guinea

miércoles 2 de abril de 2014 12:39 GYT

By Saliou Samb and Stephanie Nebehay

CONAKRY/GENEVA, April 2 (Reuters) - Foreign mining firms have locked down operations in Guinea and pulled out some international staff, executives said on Wednesday, as the death toll from suspected cases of Ebola there hit 83.

Five new suspected infections were reported in the last 24 hours, the U.N.'s World Health Organisation (WHO), bringing the total to 127.

Medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) has warned of an unprecedented epidemic that is testing weak health systems across West Africa.

Suspected cases of one of the world's most lethal infectious diseases have also been reported in neighbouring Liberia and Sierra Leone.

The epicentre of Guinea's two-month old outbreak has been in the southeast, close to its main iron ore reserves. The country is also the world's top exporter of bauxite, the raw material used in aluminium production, and has rich deposits gold.

"Everyone is practising precautionary strict hygiene but there has been no real impact on production so far," a senior executive at a mining company told Reuters, asking not to be named.

The executive said he had been placed on extended leave, while other companies were preventing people from entering or leaving their mines.