For the second week in a row, Guinea reported three new Ebola cases, with this week's patients all from the same family and one a pregnant mom, the World Health Organization (WHO) said today in its weekly update on the outbreak.
Meanwhile, Sierra Leone passed the 6-week mark without a new case as it draws closer to the date that it will be declared free of the disease, Nov 7.
Liberia has been free of the disease since Sep 3 and is in a period of heightened surveillance.
In its report the previous week, the WHO had warned that it expected more cases in Guinea, given the number of high-risk contacts still under monitoring and because one of last week's cases wasn't from a known transmission chain. The agency has also warned that the end of the region's outbreak would be a long and bumpy one.
The WHO noted that the number of weekly cases has remained below six for 13 consecutive weeks.
Cases contained to Forecariah
Guinea's cases three cases are from Forecariah district and link back to a transmission chain that started in Conakry's Ratoma area. The patients are from the village of Konedeyah and include a 25-year-old pregnant woman and her 10-year-old son and 4-year-old daughter.
Their illnesses raise the number of illnesses in the Forecariah branch of the Ratoma transmission chain to nine. The district's chain began when a 10-year-old girl traveled from Guinea's capital to seek care from traditional healers.
The WHO said the new cases generated 55 more high-risk contacts. Overall, 364 contacts are still being monitored in Guinea, an increase from 264 the week before.
Given the high number of high-risk contacts (141) and untraced contacts, the WHO warned that there is a short-term risk of more cases.
One high-risk SL contact missing
In Sierra Leone, all cases linked to transmission chains in Bombali and Kambia districts have completed their monitoring periods. However, the search for one missing high-risk contact from Kambia district will continue until Oct 31.
Overall, the West African outbreak region has reported 28,539 confirmed, probable, and suspected cases, according to the WHO report. The number of deaths is at 11,298.
Oct 28 WHO Ebola situation update
Oct 21 CIDRAP News story "WHO notes 3 Ebola cases in Guinea as UK nurse improves"