WHO steps up West Africa Ebola response, reports new cases

Health worker with mask
Health worker with mask

The WHO said Ebola control efforts are being stepped up in Conakry, Guinea's capital., Tim Pannell / Fuse

Five more suspected Ebola virus cases have been detected in Guinea and Liberia, with two more deaths from the disease reported in Liberia, as activities ramped up in the region to detect possible cases and train health workers in infection control practices.

The World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Africa said today that 158 clinically compatible cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD) have been reported in Guinea, 66 of them lab-confirmed. The number is one more than reported on Apr 8. The number of deaths held at 101, the same as in the earlier report.

One more infection has been reported in a healthcare worker, pushing the number of illnesses in that group to 15, according to a WHO statement. The latest illness onsets were Apr 8, reported in recently identified patients in Conakry, the country's capital, and Guekedou, a city in the country's southeastern forested region, which appears to be the outbreak's main hotspot.

Liberia's health ministry is reporting 25 EVD cases, an increase of four. Five cases are lab-confirmed, and all of those patients have died, according to the WHO. The most recent illness onset was Apr 6. The fatality count is at 12, two more than reported earlier this week.

Control efforts

Yesterday in a separate statement, the WHO said EVD control efforts were being stepped up in Conakry. The agency and its partners launched an intensive training program for 70 people who will go to communities to conduct contact tracing. Also this week, officials began an infection control training program for health workers at the Donka national teaching hospital, and similar programs will target staff at other hospitals.

The WHO said it has established an alert and response operations center in Guinea's health ministry to help coordinate activities. It said an outbreak-management software program developed by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will soon be deployed to the area. The software package, called Epi-Info, collects outbreak information into a single database that produces statistical and visual reports.

In Mali, no EVD illnesses have been confirmed, but tests are under way on samples from six suspected patients. Testing has already ruled out infections in two other patients, and they have been released to their families.

The WHO said an isolation facility in Bamako, designed to handle Lassa fever patients, is receiving patients with suspected EVD infections.

See also:

Apr 10 WHO statement

Apr 9 WHO press release

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