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WHO clarifies Ebola spread in West Africa

The latest report from the World Health Organization (WHO) on the Ebola outbreak in West Africa contains some good news. As of April 16, neither Mali or Sierra Leone have had any locally acquired cases of the deadly viral disease. Guinea remains the center of the epidemic with Liberia experiencing a much smaller outbreak.

 Field Biosafety and Trapping Potential Ebola Virus Reservoir Bats in Gabon
U.S. National Library of Medicine / public domain

In Mali, all six of the patients suspected of having Ebola have tested negative for the disease. As of April 16, there are no suspected cases in the country.

In Sierra Leone, all of the suspected Ebola patients have also tested negative. The nation had reported two Ebola deaths, which were found to be individuals from the same family who died of the illness in Guinea and were taken to Sierra Leone for burial. None of the 15 people who were identified as having contact with the dead became sick.

The Ebola outbreak in Liberia consists of 27 cases with 13 deaths. One suspected case from near the border with Guinea has been diagnosed with Lassa fever. Some 33 people who had contact with the Ebola patients remain under observation.

Guinea is bearing the burden of the Ebola epidemic. It is reporting 197 cases and 122 deaths. The spread of Ebola in the nation's capital, Conakry, continues. In the city alone, there have been 47 Ebola cases and 16 deaths. Public health authorities are observing 221 people who had contact with patients and an additional 23 patients remain in quarantine in the city.

There are 36 patients in quarantine throughout Guinea. Medical teams are following the health of 606 people who had contact with known Ebola victims. Several patients in Guinea have recovered from their illnesses and returned home, the WHO reports.

The totals for the Ebola crisis vary from day to day. As of this report from the WHO, 224 patients have contracted Ebola throughout the region. Over half, 135, have died of their illness. That places the epidemic's mortality rate at about 60 percent.

The Ebola toll on health-care workers has been severe. In Guinea, 24 have become ill and 13 have died. In Liberia, a WHO report from April 7 reported the illness and death of three health-care workers. The various international agencies providing assistance to Guinea in connection with the Ebola outbreak are conducting infection prevention training for medical personnel who have contact with Ebola patients.

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