Ebola Cases in Guinea & Sierra Leone Rising AgainJune 15, 2015 in Ebola, Guinea, Sierra Leone
Researchers reported Tuesday that the Ebola strain in the current outbreak in West Africa is less virulent than the first one that appeared in 1976. The news comes as the latest figures released by the World Health Organization (WHO) show that the number of Ebola cases reported in Guinea and neighbouring Sierra Leone has risen for a second consecutive week.
According to a recent study, the results of the test on monkeys carried out by scientists at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) are considered important as they suggest that the virus, which has caused at least 11,000 deaths, is not becoming more severe. Instead, “…the new study suggests the current virus has a decreased ability to cause disease in their animal model compared to the 1976 strain.”
The 1976 strain is known as the Mayinga strain while the one that emerged in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone late in 2013 is known as the Makona Strain. The 1976 Ebola outbreak was limited, killing 318 people in the Democratic Republic of Congo, formerly known as Zaire. The deadliest outbreak with this strain occurred in Uganda in 2000, when 425 people died. Both of these outbreaks had a weaker impact as they occurred in rural and sparsely populated areas.
The latest figures released by the WHO on Wednesday indicate that the number of Ebola cases in Guinea and Sierra Leone has risen for the second consecutive week. According to the latest report, in Guinea, 16 new cases were confirmed in the week ending 7 June, with 15 more reported in neighbouring Sierra Leone. In its latest situation report, the WHO indicates that the Ebola virus has infected 27,237 people and killed 11,158.
In the previous week, 13 new cases had been reported in Guinea, which represented a clear increase to the nine that were reported a week before that. The global health agency has voiced concerns that the areas affected in Guinea have increased as in the week leading up to 7 June, two new cases were confirmed in Guinea’s capital city, Conakry, which had been Ebola-free during the previous three weeks. The virus also reappeared in the western Guinean region of Kindia, where three new cases were confirmed during this reporting period. Officials have reported that the pattern is similar in neighbouring Sierra Leone, where 12 new cases were confirmed in the last week of May, compared to just three that were confirmed in the previous week.