The scope of Guinea's Ebola virus outbreak has expanded north of the country's capital, with cases reported from three newly affected areas, as the number of cases in neighboring Sierra Leone jumped, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported yesterday.
After a downturn in Ebola virus disease (EVD) over the past few weeks, new cases were recently detected in Telimele prefecture, just east of Guinea's capital, Conakry. The outbreak began in the middle of March in the country's southeastern forested region and spread to the capital on the western coast, where several health workers were infected after treating hospitalized patients.
Yesterday the WHO said 14 new cases and 5 deaths have been reported in Telimele (7 cases, 4 deaths) and three areas reporting their first outbreak cases: the prefectures of Boffa (5 cases, 1 death) and Boke (1 case) and the city of Dubreka (1 case, 1 death). The two prefectures are northwest of Conakry, with Boke located at the Guinea-Bissau border. The town of Dubreka is just north of Conakry.
The WHO also said community and hospital-related transmission are occurring in the main outbreak areas of Gueckedou, Macenta, and Conakry. The overall number of EVD cases in Guinea as of yesterday climbed to 281 cases, an increase of 23 from the WHO's May 24 update. The fatality count rose to 186, reflecting 12 more deaths since last update.
So far 163 of the infections and 103 of the deaths have been confirmed with lab tests. The agency said the numbers are likely to change due to several factors, including classification changes, investigation findings, and case and lab data consolidation.
Currently 16 patients are in isolation, including 10 in Gueckedou, 3 in Telimele, and 3 in Boffa. Public health workers are following 427 contacts.
Guinea's health ministry and its global health partners have launched an outbreak investigation and infection control efforts in the newly affected areas and are targeting resistant areas of Gueckedou and Conakry with community outreach efforts, the WHO said.
15 new cases in Sierra Leone
In Sierra Leone, health officials are now reporting 16 cases and 5 deaths. The numbers are up from 1 lab-confirmed case and 4 deaths reported on May 26, which were the country's first EVD illnesses. Suspected cases, though, were reported early in West Africa's outbreak but were ruled out after lab testing.
Sierra Leone's cases have all been reported from Kailahun district, which is near the Guinean border, not far from an outbreak hot spot, and the Liberian border. The WHO said lab tests have confirmed 7 of Sierra Leone's 16 EVD cases.
The WHO said response steps taken after a teleconference to review the situation include establishing an emergency team at the WHO country office, deploying experts , and providing logistics, supplies, and funding.
May 27 WHO update