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Epidemiological update: Outbreak of Ebola virus disease in West Africa

14 May 2014
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Source: WHO and Guinea/Liberia: Ebola outbreak (reliefweb)
 

Background:

 
An outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) with onset in December 2013 is still evolving in Guinea. The first cases were reported from Guéckédou prefecture, a forested region of south-eastern Guinea near the border with Liberia and Sierra Leone. The alert was issued by the Ministry of Health on 10 March 2014.
 
Guinea. As of 10 May 2014, the Ministry of Health of Guinea has reported 233 clinical cases of EVD, including 157 deaths. The cumulative total of clinical EVD cases and deaths since the beginning of the outbreak by location is: Conakry (50 cases, including 24 deaths); Guéckédou (149/106); Macenta (23/17); Kissidougou (6/5), Dabola (4/4) and Djingaraye (1/1). As of 12 May 2014, the number of confirmed cases is 133, including 83 deaths.
 
There have been no new cases of EVD in Kissidougou since 1 April, Macenta since 9 April and in Djingaraye and Dabola since end of March 2014. As of 12 May, there was one patient in isolation in Conakry and five in Guéckédou. The date of isolation of the most recent confirmed case is 26 April in Conakry and 7 May in Guéckédou. Four-hundred-and-thirty-one contacts are currently followed-up in Guéckédou and 13 in Conakry.
 
Sierra Leone. As of 7 May 2014, no cases of EVD have been confirmed in Sierra Leone. Among the 106 patients presenting with a Viral Haemorrhagic Fever-like illness between 16 March and 7 May 2014, no cases of EVD have been detected using ebola virus PCR assays and ten patients with Lassa fever were confirmed.
 
Liberia. As of 7 May 2014, the number of cases is 12 (six confirmed, two probable and four suspected) and 11 deaths. The most recent confirmed or probable case was on 6 April 2014.
 
WHO and international organisations are supporting the Ministries of Health of Guinea and Liberia in their EVD prevention, contract tracing, health care and control related activities.
 
No cases have been detected in returning travellers in Europe.
 

Conclusions:

 
This is the first time an Ebola virus disease outbreak is reported in West Africa. The outbreak seems to be slowing down, however still evolving notably in Guéckédou because the last patient was reported in isolation the 7 May 2014, which supports the possibility of a recent chain of transmission. Prevention and control activities will be continued in order to stop the transmission of EVD. Isolation of cases, active monitoring of contacts and other control measures currently being implemented in the affected countries with the support of medical humanitarian organisation such as Médecins Sans Frontières, EU scientists and an EU funded mobile laboratory in Guéckédou, and WHO.
 
The risk of infection for travellers visiting Guinea and Liberia is considered very low. Most human infections result from direct contact with bodily fluids or secretions from an infected human, and the highest risks of infection are associated with caring for infected patients, particularly in hospital settings, unsafe medical procedures, including exposure to contaminated medical devices, such as needles and syringes and unprotected exposure to contaminated bodily fluids.
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