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Ebola cases climb in Liberia and Sierra Leone

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced today that it has received reports of an an additional 128 Ebola illnesses and 56 Ebola-related deaths in the West African outbreak for the two day period of Aug. 10-11. The total of confirmed, probable and suspected Ebola cases has reached 1,975 along with 1,069 deaths. Four countries are reporting the bacterial illness, Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria.

Map showing the lates information about the Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Map showing the lates information about the Ebola outbreak in West Africa
CDC / public domain

Nigeria is reporting the fewest cases at this time. Twelve Ebola illnesses and three deaths have been recorded through Aug. 11. All of the cases are tied to Patrick Sawyer, an American working for the Liberian government, who flew to Nigeria and became ill on arrival in Lagos. The three dead include Sawyer, a physician who first treated him in the hospital and a staffer from the Economic Community Of West African States who was in contact with Sawyer. Most of the remaining nine cases are health care workers who had contact with Sawyer in the hospital.

Reuters is reporting today that a Nigerian nurse in quarantine has apparently left it for her hometown of Enugu. The Nigerian government told the news agency that the nurse has a suspected case of Ebola and had contact with 20 people in Enugu. All 21 people are now under under surveillance.

Sierra Leone has reported the greatest number of Ebola cases through Aug. 11. The WHO has 783 illnesses and 334 deaths recorded, with 53 cases and 19 deaths in the two day period Aug. 10-11.

The Ebola outbreak in Liberia seems to be worsening. WHO has received reports of 71 new Ebola cases and 32 new deaths in the two days. Liberia has the second highest case count for the outbreak, with 670 cases and 355 Ebola-related deaths.

Guinea, where Ebola first emerged in West Africa, reported four news cases, all fatalities, for the two days to the WHO. It has the greatest number of Ebola deaths with 377 and 510 confirmed, probable and suspected Ebola cases.

The New York Times reported on Aug. 12 that Sierra Leone and Liberia have imposed a military blockade, a so-called "cordon sanitaire", around the area along their common border where a high number of Ebola cases are originating. Military troops have established roadblocks isolating the districts of Kenema and Kailahun in Sierra Leone. On the other side of the border, Liberian troops have done the same for the counties of Lofa, Bomba, Grand Cape Mount, Bopolu and Bomi.

The Times states that the military are checking identifications and taking temperatures at the checkpoints. It is unclear how effective the process is. Nor is it clear if food and medicine are being permitted through the blockade.