After leveling off over the past few weeks, Ebola virus activity in West Africa sparked up again on two fronts, in a newly affected area of Guinea and in Sierra Leone, which had not had a previous outbreak case, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in its latest updates.
In Guinea, eight new cases and three more deaths were reported from three districts. Three of the infections were reported from Telimele prefecture, its first infections to be reported in the country's outbreak, the WHO said. The area is just east of the country's capital of Conakry, which has been one of the disease hot spots.
The other new cases are from two prefectures in the southeastern forested region of the country that have already reported cases. Two are from Gueckedou, and three fatal cases are from Macenta.
The developments lift Guinea's Ebola virus disease (EVD) total to 258 infections, 174 of them fatal. So far 146 of the illness and 95 of the deaths have been confirmed by lab tests.
Nine patients are still hospitalized, including six in Gueckedou and three in Telimele. Public health workers are following several patient contacts—132 in Gueckedou and 41 in Telimele.
First cases in Sierra Leone
In a separate update posted yesterday, the WHO said Sierra Leone has reported an EVD outbreak, with one lab-confirmed case and four deaths. The illnesses and deaths all occurred in patients from the Koindu chiefdom, which shares a border with Guinea's Gueckedou prefecture, an area that has reported several cases.
While waiting for epidemiologic details, health officials in Sierra Leone and their partners from the WHO took several measures, including convening a national Ebola emergency task force and deploying a field team to investigate the outbreak and start preliminary response steps.
The EVD cases are Sierra Leone's first in the outbreak. Earlier in the event there were several suspected cases, but all tested negative.
The country's chief medical officer, Brima Kargbo, said Sierra Leone's first Ebola patient is a female traditional healer who had attended a funeral in Guinea, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported today.
May 24 WHO update
May 26 WHO update
May 27 AFP story