Eid celebrations subdued in West Africa by Ebola

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Reports from Guinea say public places used for prayers are deserted while religious leaders in Sierra Leone told Muslims not to shake hands or embrace.

SHAFAQNA Celebrations in West Africa for the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha have been badly affected by the Ebola outbreak.

Meanwhile, a French nurse who got the virus in Liberia has recovered after having experimental treatment in Paris.

The outbreak is the world’s deadliest and has killed more than 3,400 people.

The government in Guinea, where about 85% of the country’s 11 million population are Muslim, warned people not to hold large gatherings in fields and squares often used for prayers.

Locals said Muslims were still slaughtering ceremonial sheep for Eid, but were doing so in smaller groups at their homes.

In Sierra Leone, which also has a large Muslim population, the United Council of Imams reminded people to follow the government’s advice to avoid bodily contact.

About 1.5 billion Muslims around the world celebrate Eid al-Adha, with some two million making the pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi officials said there were no cases of Ebola recorded among the pilgrims, despite fears the virus could find its way to Mecca.

Ebola spreads through contact with the bodily fluids of someone who has the virus and the only way to stop an outbreak is to isolate those who are infected.

There have been nearly 7,500 confirmed infections, with officials saying the figure is likely to be much higher in reality.

Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia have been hardest hit. There have also been cases in Nigeria and Senegal but both of those countries seem to have contained the outbreak there.

Last week, US officials said a man who had recently returned to Texas from Liberia had contracted the disease but he was quickly isolated.

On Saturday, the French health minister said a female nurse who had caught the virus while working for the medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) in Liberia had left hospital in Paris after recovering.

The nurse, who has not been identified, “is now cured and has left hospital”, Marisol Touraine said in a statement.

She added that the woman had received several experimental treatments so it was not clear what effect each of them had had.

A Senegalese medical expert who was infected in Sierra Leone has also been discharged from a hospital in the German city of Hamburg, the hospital said.

 

Source: BBC News

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