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: Liberia confirms first Ebola cases

Related Stories

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.

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.

Recommended for you

Monkeys in Asia harbor virus from humans, other species

November 19, 2015

When it comes to spreading viruses, bats are thought to be among the worst. Now a new study of nearly 900 nonhuman primates in Bangladesh and Cambodia shows that macaques harbor more diverse astroviruses, which can cause ...

One-step test for hepatitis C virus infection developed

November 14, 2015

UC Irvine Health researchers have developed a cost-effective one-step test that screens, detects and confirms hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections. Dr. Ke-Qin Hu, director of hepatology services, will present findings at the ...

Computer model reveals deadly route of Ebola outbreak

November 10, 2015

Using a novel statistical model, a research team led by Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health mapped the spread of the 2014-2015 Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, providing the most detailed picture to date ...


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.