Guinea reports 5th Ebola death as Liberia closes border
A fifth person has died from Ebola virus infection in southeast Guinea in recent days—raising fears of geographic spread—as the country monitors more than 800 possible contacts and Liberia closed its border with Guinea, Reuters reported in separate stories.
The latest case was detected in Macenta prefecture, about 125 miles from the village of Koropara where the four other recent Ebola-related deaths occurred, said Fode Sylla Tass, a spokesman for the country's Ebola response efforts, Reuters reported today.
The man had recently visited Koropara and had been in direct contact with the first patients, Tass said. He was buried in the village of Makoidou without proper disease-control measures.
After the first four deaths in Koropara, the Ebola coordination team in the country has traced an estimated 816 people in 107 families who may have come in contact with the newest victims or their corpses, Reuters reported yesterday.
These people have been quarantined in their homes for 21 days, and apparently they have been cooperating. If they have no symptoms by the end of the quarantine period, they will be released.
In response to the deaths, Liberia closed its borders, Reuters said today in a separate story. "The border will remain closed until the situation in Guinea improves. . . . We are not taking any chance at all," said Guinea's information minister, Eugene Nangbe.
Guinea was declared free of Ebola last December, and the recent flare-up brought to an end a World Health Organization declaration earlier in the day that West Africa was free of the disease.
Mar 22 Reuters report on latest death
Mar 21 Reuters story on contact follow-up
Mar 22 Reuters story on border closing
Mar 21 CIDRAP News scan on Guinea cases
Study confirms need for early follow-up of Ebola survivors
In other Ebola news, findings of a study published yesterday in Clinical Infectious Diseases added more weight to the importance of early follow-up of Ebola survivors for common sequelae that could lead to long-term disabilities if not treated.
The authors, from Geneva, followed 166 Ebola patients in a survivor clinic in Freetown, Sierra Leone, from Feb 3 through Jun 21, 2015; 1,001 medical consultations were done among the subjects.
The most frequent complaints and diagnoses were arthralgia in 129 (77.7%), fatigue in 116 (69.8%), ocular complications in 94 (56.7%), abdominal pain in 90 (54.2%), headache in 87 (52.4%), anemia in 83 (50%), skin disorders in 81 (48.8%), back pain in 54 (32.5%), and alopecia in 53 (31.9).
Among the ocular complications, uveitis was most common, occurring in 57 (34%). Those who presented with red or infected eyes during the acute phase of their illness were 10 times for likely to have uveitis as survivors, said the authors, indicating the importance of early treatment after discharge to minimize such sequelae as blindness.
Mar 21 Clin Infect Dis abstract