More deaths reported in Guinea Ebola outbreak

Ebola virus
Ebola virus

Krishna Kumar / Thinkstock

Two more patients have died in Guinea's Ebola outbreak, pushing the number of fatal cases to 80, according to the latest update from the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Africa, which also provided details on the situation in neighboring Liberia and Sierra Leone.

The WHO also signaled that it is replacing the term "Ebola hemorrhagic fever" with "Ebola virus disease" (EVD), a label that is consistent with the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10), a standard diagnostic tool used by epidemiologists, health managers, and clinicians.

As of yesterday, Guinea's health ministry had reported 122 cases that are compatible with EVD, including 24 lab-confirmed infections and 98 probable or suspected cases, according to the WHO. Among the 80 deaths, 13 involve lab- confirmed illnesses.

Eleven health workers are among the probable and suspected cases, according to the update. As of Mar 30, 20 patients were still in isolation.

Most of the cases have been reported in the forested region in southeastern Guinea, but three cases were reported in two more centrally located prefectures and 11 illnesses have been reported in the capital city, Conakry, on the southwestern coast.

WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl said in a Twitter post today that so far the WHO has deployed 32 staff and Global Outbreak and Response Network (GOARN) experts to help with the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

Updates from Liberia, Sierra Leone

Liberia's health ministry is reporting eight EVD cases, two of them lab-confirmed, as of Mar 30, according to the WHO. That overall number appears to be one more than reported yesterday, and the agency has said the outbreak is rapidly evolving and that the numbers are likely to change. Two deaths have been reported, one in a lab-confirmed case and one in a suspected case.

The WHO has said that all of the Liberia EVD cases can be linked to travel in Guinea.

No EVD cases have been reported in Sierra Leone, but two members of the same family died from suspected infections in Guinea and their bodies were taken back to Sierra Leone, the WHO reported. That event has triggered heightened surveillance by the health ministry, which has found no additional cases and determined that all contacts of the dead family members are well.

The WHO said it does not recommend travel restrictions to any of the three countries and that the risk to travelers is very low, because most infections result from unprotected contact with an infected person's body fluids or secretions. However, it urged healthcare providers to consider the possibility in patients who traveled to outbreak countries and have compatible symptoms.

In a Twitter post today, the WHO said the most common symptoms associated with Ebola include sudden fever onset, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache, and sore throat.

CDC team arrives in Guinea

In other developments, a team of five experts from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was slated to arrive in Guinea yesterday to assist with outbreak response efforts, according to a press release from the US embassy in Conakry.

The embassy said the Americans will help health officials from Guinea and the international community take steps to monitor and curb the spread of the disease and ensure that all needed measures are taken to prevent more infections.

In its Mar 28 statement the embassy repeated its earlier warning that Americans in Guinea should avoid contact with people who have Ebola-like symptoms until more information is available.

See also:

Apr 1 WHO statement

Gregory Hartl Twitter feed

WHO Twitter feed

Apr 28 US embassy press release

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