Dramatic improvement in controlling Ebola outbreak

May 9, 2014 by Sarah Dilorenzo

Health workers have made dramatic progress in controlling an Ebola outbreak in West Africa in recent weeks, a doctor with the World Health Organization said Friday.

The outbreak has been blamed for the deaths of at least 168 people in Guinea and Liberia. There is no cure and no vaccine for Ebola, which causes a high fever and severe bleeding. The outbreak is unusual for West Africa as the disease is typically found in the center and east of the continent.

There are signs that the outbreak's spread is slowing, but it is not over yet, Jean-Bosco Ndihokubwayo, who is coordinating the U.N. health agency's response in Guinea, said Friday.

"The situation has improved dramatically in the last two weeks, but we're not there yet," he said.

The most recent two cases of the disease in Guinea were confirmed on Wednesday, he said, adding that the people were infected by others already known to have the disease. That's a positive sign because it means doctors are on top of the disease's contamination path, he said.

Liberia hasn't confirmed a new case since April 6, he said.

Ebola can incubate for up to 21 days before an infected person shows any symptoms. Doctors like to wait 42 days—two incubation periods—after the last known infection before declaring an outbreak over.

So far there have been more than 240 suspected and confirmed cases of the disease, the vast majority in Guinea, according to the World Health Organization.

Ndihokubwayo said the mortality rate for this outbreak thus far is close to 70 percent. He said that's within the typical range for Ebola, which can be fatal in up to 90 percent of cases.

Explore further: Ebola-linked deaths in West Africa rise over 100

Related Stories

Ebola toll rises to 74 in Guinea

April 29, 2014

Guinea said Tuesday 74 people had died so far this year in one of the worst ever outbreaks of the Ebola virus.

Liberia confirms first Ebola cases

March 31, 2014

Liberia has confirmed two cases of the deadly Ebola virus that is suspected to have killed at least 78 people in neighbouring Guinea, according to the World Health Organization.

Recommended for you

Zika virus infection alters human and viral RNA

October 20, 2016

Researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine have discovered that Zika virus infection leads to modifications of both viral and human genetic material. These modifications—chemical tags known as ...

Food-poisoning bacteria may be behind Crohn's disease

October 19, 2016

People who retain a particular bacterium in their gut after a bout of food poisoning may be at an increased risk of developing Crohn's disease later in life, according to a new study led by researchers at McMaster University.

Neurodevelopmental model of Zika may provide rapid answers

October 19, 2016

A newly published study from researchers working in collaboration with the Regenerative Bioscience Center at the University of Georgia demonstrates fetal death and brain damage in early chick embryos similar to microcephaly—a ...

Scientists uncover new facets of Zika-related birth defects

October 17, 2016

In a study that could one day help eliminate the tragic birth defects caused by Zika virus, scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have elucidated how the virus attacks the brains of newborns, ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.