Cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in Sierra Leone have more than tripled in just 3 days, from 16 reported on May 27 to 50 reported today by the World Health Organization (WHO). The agency also reported 10 new EVD cases in Guinea and 1 in Liberia.
Just a week ago the outbreak in West Africa appeared to be slowing, but the WHO has now reported new cases four times since May 24.
The 34 new cases in Sierra Leone include 7 confirmed, 3 probable, and 24 suspected, as well as 1 (suspected-case) death in five districts. The WHO said that the country now has a total of 14 confirmed, 3 probable, and 36 suspected EVD cases, including 6 deaths. Those numbers add up to 53 cases, but CIDRAP News could not obtain a clarification from the agency in time for publication.
By far the most affected district is Kailahun, in the country's southeast and bordering both Guinea and Liberia. It has reported 37 cases and all 6 deaths. Sierra Leone reported its first EVD cases on May 26.
Guinea cases approach 300
Guinea's 10 new cases bring the country's total to 291, including 193 fatal cases. The WHO broke down the cases as 172 confirmed (including 108 deaths), 71 probable (62 fatal), and 48 suspected (23 fatal). Seven of the 10 new cases were fatal.
Areas with the most EVD cases are Gueckedou prefecture, with 179 cases; Conakry, the capital, with 53; and Macenta prefecture, with 40. Investigators are following up with 493 contacts, the WHO said.
The agency did not specify where the new cases were detected but said in the update, "The current evolving epidemiological situation could be partly explained by persistent community resistance in some communities in Gueckedou, Macenta, and Conakry."
New Liberian case
The WHO also reported a new fatal case in Foya district in Liberia. The body was transported and buried in Sierra Leone, and both Liberian and Sierra Leone officials are investigating the case.
Liberia had not reported an EVD case since Apr 9 and now has 35, according to previous reports.
"Community resistance, inadequate treatment facilities and insufficient human resources in certain affected areas are among challenges currently faced by the three countries in responding to the EVD outbreak," the WHO said. It added that its partners have deployed experts to Sierra Leone and Guinea to support local health officials.
The agency and its partners have established a treatment center in Koindu, Kailahun district, Sierra Leone, and are coordinating the transport of samples from that district to be tested in Gueckedou, Guinea.
May 30 WHO update
May 28 CIDRAP News story "Ebola expands in Guinea, sickens more in Sierra Leone"