Tag Archives: Liberia

Guinea Records Two New Ebola Cases After Two Weeks of No New Cases

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The World Health Organization (WHO) has reported that there are two new cases of Ebola that have been recorded in Guinea this week, effectively ending two consecutive weeks in West Africa when no cases of the disease were reported.

Officials have indicated that the two new patients were not previously identified contacts being tracked by health authorities. This suggests that officials are still unable to monitor everyone exposed to Ebola. On Friday, WHO spokeswoman Dr Margaret Harris disclosed that the UN health agency had expected to see more cases despite the recent lull in the epidemic, adding that the cases were in areas where scientists knew Ebola was spreading.

In its weekly update, WHO officials disclosed that there was a “near-term risk of further cases among both registered and untraced contacts.” To date, Ebola has killed more than 11,000 people in West Africa, mainly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

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Sierra Leone Approaches Being Declared Ebola-Free

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According to officials, Sierra Leone has not recorded a single new case of Ebola in the past four weeks, which effectively keeps the West African country on course to being declared free of the virus next month.

At a press conference, the head of the government’s National Ebola Response Centre, Palo Conteh, disclosed that “Sierra Leone has no Ebola-positive case recorded in the country for the fourth consecutive week,” adding that there were no more people in quarantine either.

The last known Ebola patients were discharged from hospital in late September, which allowed Sierra Leone to begin the standard 42-day countdown towards becoming Ebola-free. If no further cases are recorded, the World Health Organization (WHO) will declare Sierra Leone Ebola-free on 8 November.

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First Full Week with No Ebola Cases Reported Since March 2014

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The World Health Organization (WHO) reported on Wednesday that no new Ebola cases were confirmed last week, effectively marking the first full week without any new cases of the deadly disease being recorded in a year an a half.

In its latest situation report on the West African Ebola outbreak, the WHO disclosed that ‘no confirmed cases of Ebola virus disease were reported in the week to 4 October,” adding, “this is the first time that a complete epidemiological week has elapsed with zero confirmed cases since march 2014.” On Wednesday, WHO officials noted that the epidemic had clearly entered a third phase, noting that the focus was no on driving “case incidence to zero, and ensure a sustained end to (Ebola) transmission.” He UN health agency also disclosed that all contacts had been completely followed up in Sierra Leone, which has seen no new cases for the past three weeks.

While Wednesday’s report is good news for the region, which has been severely affected by the outbreak, the WHO has warned that the danger is still not over, adding that two high-risk contacts in Sierra Leone, one from Bombali and one from Kambia, have gone missing. The WHO has indicated that “efforts to trace these missing contacts and mitigate the risk of any undetected transmission will continue until at least 42 days have elapsed since the last reported case in each district.” Meanwhile in neighbouring Guinea, over 500 contacts remain under follow-up in three of the country’s prefectures, with the WHO noting that all the contacts were associated with a single chain of transmission centered on the Ratoma area of the capital, Conakry. Another 290 contacts had been identified but had not been traceable for the past 42 days. The four latest cases in Guinea, reported on September 26 and 27 in Forecariah, were people infected by an unregistered contact, likely linked to the Ratoma transmission chain.

The deadliest-ever outbreak of Ebola, since the virus was identified in central Africa in 1976, has killed to date 11,312 of the 28,457 people infected since December 2013, with nearly all the victims in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. In early September, Liberia was declared free of Ebola transmission for a second time, while late last month, Sierra Leone officially began a 42-day countdown towards becoming Ebola free.

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Three New Cases of Ebola Reported in Sierra Leone

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Authorities in Sierra Leone reported Tuesday that three more patients have tested positive for Ebola in a village in the northern region of the country that is already under quarantine in the wake of the death of a 67-year-old woman.

According to the National Ebola Response Centre (NERC), the new cases, which were diagnosed on Monday, bring the total in a recent outbreak in Sella Kafta in the district of Kambia to five. Speaking to reporters in the capital Freetown, NERC spokesman Sidi Yahya Tunis disclosed that the three new cases were amongst the fifty “high risk persons” who have been identified as being close relatives of the food trader, who died on 28 August. He further disclosed that “the development remains a concern for us but since it has taken place within a quarantined home, it can be adequately monitored and further transmission can be contained.”

The latest outbreak brought to an abrupt end the optimism that was fuelled by the release of what had been the West African country’s last known Ebola patient from a hospital in the central city of Makeni in late August. In the wake of the latest Ebola death, Sella Kafta, a village of almost 1,000 people, was placed under a three-week quarantine lockdown.

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Liberia Declared Free of Ebola Spread for the Second Time

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On Thursday 4 September, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that Liberia has once again been declared free of the deadly Ebola virus, a move which prompted celebrations in the capital Monrovia.

In a statement released Thursday, the UN health agency indicated “WHO declares Liberia free of Ebola virus transmission in the human population,” adding that it hailed the country’s “successful response” to the recent re-emergence of Ebola. The statement noted that “Liberia’s ability to effectively respond to the outbreak of Ebola virus disease is due to intensified vigilance and rapid response by the government and multiple partners.” While the West African country, where at the height of the epidemic last year thousands died, had already been declared Ebola-free in May, six weeks later the country saw a resurgence of the deadly virus. Six people were infected, including two who died.   While many Liberian’s in the capital city welcomed the news, most are taking it with caution, noting that like the last declaration, there may be further smaller outbreaks that continue over the coming weeks and months.

Liberia was long the hardest hit in the West African Ebola outbreak, which began in December 2013 and which infected more than 28,000 people, claiming the lives of more than 11,000 in Liberia as well as in Guinea and Sierra Leone. More than 10,500 of those infections and 4,800 of the deaths occurred in Liberia.

A country is considered free of human-to-human transmission once two 21-day incubation periods have passed since the last known case tested negative for a second time. Experts however have warned that even after 42 days, the danger is not over, particularly with the fact that small numbers of cases continue to surface in neighbouring Guinea and Sierra Leone. Liberia’s Ebola management department, Francis Karteh, has warned that while the Ebola-free announcement was a cause for celebration, complacency could not be allowed as the fight against the virus is “not yet over,” adding, “as long as there is one person with Ebola in our region, Ebola is still a threat.” Karteh further added that “the Ministry of Health and its partners will continue monitoring Liberia’s borders and rebuilding the healthcare system to assure that Liberians remain safe.”

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