The count of Ebola virus disease (EVD) cases in West Africa has increased by 32, and 15 new deaths have been recorded, but the number of deaths attributed to confirmed cases has been revised downward, according to a World Health Organization (WHO) update today.
The WHO put the totals for Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia at 599 cases and 338 deaths, as compared with 567 cases and 359 deaths reported in the previous update on Jun 22. The case totals include confirmed, probable, and suspected cases.
22 new cases in Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone now has a cumulative total of 158 cases, or 22 more than reported 2 days ago, and 4 new deaths were reported from Jun 18 to 20, the WHO said. The deaths included three in Kailahun and one in Kenema.
But the WHO listed the country's cumulative deaths in confirmed cases at 34, versus 58 deaths reported in the previous update. The implication is that a number of deaths were found to have had other causes, but the statement doesn't explain further.
Liberia has 10 new cases, 8 new deaths
In Liberia, 10 new Ebola cases and 8 new deaths were reported from Jun 19 to 22, the WHO said. That raised the cumulative totals to 51 cases and 34 deaths. The latest cases and deaths were identified in Lofa (8 and 6) and Montserrado (2 and 2).
Guinea, the birthplace of the outbreak, identified no new Ebola cases from Jun 18 to 20, but three deaths were reported, two in Gueckedou and one in Telimele, the WHO said. The country’s cumulative count is 390 cases with 270 deaths.
The WHO said investigators are following up with 37 contacts of patients in Sierra Leone, 232 in Liberia, and 1,147 in Guinea.
Meanwhile, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offered a summary of the outbreak in an early-release article in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report today. It notes that the outbreak appeared to be slowing in late April, but in late May it resurged.
"Major challenges faced by all partners in the efforts to control the outbreak include its wide geographic spread, weak health-care infrastructures, and community mistrust and resistance," the article observes.
The episode marks the first Ebola outbreak in West Africa and the largest such outbreak anywhere to date.
Jun 24 WHO statement
Jun 22 WHO statement
Jun 24 MMWR article