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Update: Ebola confirmed in Conakry

Ebola confirmed in Guinea's capital
Ebola confirmed in Guinea's capital

The number of Ebola cases in Guinea has jumped to 103, which includes four laboratory confirmed cases of Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever (EHF), plus a fifth case who died without confirmation in the capital, Conakry, according to a World Health Organization update Mar. 27.

The Ministry of Health of Guinea, through the WHO, says 15 new suspected cases were reported in Guinea (8 in Guekedou and 2 in Macenta, in addition to the 5 cases in Conakry).

The death toll due to this current outbreak is up to 66, for a case-fatality rate of 64 percent.

These numbers are up from 88 suspected cases and 63 fatalities reported earlier.

Both the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Public Health Agency of Canada issued travel advisories for people traveling to the west African nation.

Ebola hemorrhagic fever was first recognized in 1976 and was named after a river in the Congo. Itreceived a lot of popular attention thanks to the best-seller, “The Hot Zone”.

Infections with Ebola virus are acute. There is nocarrier state. Because the natural reservoir of the virus is unknown, the manner in which the virus first appears in a human at the start of an outbreak has not been determined.

People can be exposed to Ebola virus from direct contact with the blood and/or secretions of an infected person. Thus, the virus is often spread through families and friends because they come in close contact with such secretions when caring for infected persons. People can also be exposed to Ebola virus through contact with objects, such as needles, that have been contaminated with infected secretions.

The incubation period for Ebola HF ranges from 2 to 21 days. The onset of illness is abrupt and is characterized by fever, headache, joint and muscle aches, sore throat, and weakness, followed by diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach pain. A rash, red eyes, hiccups and internal and external bleeding may be seen in some patients.

The death rate for Ebola HF can be up to 90%. There is no standard treatment for Ebola HF.

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