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Guinea's first Ebola survivors return to family, stigma remains

GUECKEDOU, Guinea, April 8 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - H iccups, say doctors in this remote corner of Guinea, are the final tell-tale sign of infection by the Ebola virus that has killed more than 100 people since an outbreak began this year.

Then come profuse bleeding, circulatory shock and death.

But for Rose Komano, the hiccups never came. On Saturday, the 18-year-old mother of three became the first victim to have beaten the disease in the region of Gueckedou, epicentre of the Ebola outbreak in this impoverished West African nation.

In total, 98 people are thought to have died from the disease in Guinea and 10 more in neighbouring Liberia, according to aid workers and governments.

A market town of 220,000 people near the Liberia and Sierra Leone borders, Gueckedou's makeshift clinic is on the front line of Guinea's battle to contain its first outbreak of the haemorrhagic fever, normally found in Central Africa.

Medecins sans Frontières (MSF), a medical charity working to contain the virus, has set up two tin-roofed tents in the courtyard of the local health centre. One is for suspected Ebola cases and the other is for confirmed cases.

Now, to the delight of the overworked medical staff, they are building a third tent - for survivors.
 
 

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