UPDATE 1-Miners in lock-down in Guinea as Ebola death toll hits 84

miércoles 2 de abril de 2014 17:08 GYT

(Updates death toll, adds Gambia suspected cases)

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 84.

The West African nation's government said four new suspected cases of one of the world's most lethal infectious diseases had been reported in the last 24 hours, bringing the total to 134.

Medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) has warned Guinea was facing an unprecedented epidemic of Ebola that would test weak health systems across West Africa.

Suspected cases of the disease - which has a fatality rate of up to 90 percent - have also been reported in neighbouring Liberia and Sierra Leone, while Gambia said two people had been quarantined after arriving from southeastern Guinea.

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.   Continuación...