Deadly Ebola virus outbreak spreads in West Africa

An outbreak of Ebola haemorraghic fever that had already struck Guinea in April 2014 is now spreading in neighboring Sierra Leone. The number of confirmed cases in Guinea in recent weeks has increased, with 178 cases confirmed by May 30. Of these, 113 were fatal.
 
The Ebola epidemic has spread to Boffa, on the coast of Guinea, and Telimele, in the region of Kindia. Other cases have been confirmed in Conakry, Gueckedou and Macenta.
 
Experts theorize that the spike in the incidence of the deadly virus may be due to patients' reluctance to be hospitalized. Another issue is the incidence of infection stemming from the transport of infected persons and the dead. Families often personally transport the bodies to organize funerals in other cities.
 
The increase of infections has made patient treatment difficult. An emergency team was sent by Doctors Without Borders (MSF) to Sierra Leone.
 
According to Sierra Leone's Ministry of Health, since the end of May there has been one confirmed case and four deaths in Koindu, in Kailahun, the epicenter of the epidemic, in the district of Sierra Leone near the border with Guinea.
 
Health authorities, in a May 29 statement, confirmed 18 suspected cases, of whom six have died.
 
 
In coming days MSF will set up a center for the treatment of Ebola in Koindu in collaboration with the government. Specialists will join local officials to send medical and logistical supplies such as protective clothing kits and medicines to protect health care staff and equip facilities for the treatment of patients. The virus has already infected more than 300 people in West Africa. 
 
Symptoms of Ebola virus infections resemble malaria. Patients receive quinine to combat the disease. It is believed that is spread through close personal contact and the sharing of non-sterilized hypodermic needles.
 
The Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta GA also provided details about the advancing disease. According to the CDC, as of June 3, the Guinea Ministry of Health cited a total of 344 suspect and confirmed cases of Ebola, including 215 deaths in the districts of Conakry, GuéckédouMacentaKissidougouDabolaDjingarayeTéliméléBoffaBoke, andDubreka. Across Guinea, 207 cases (121 deaths) have been confirmed by laboratory testing.
 
 
In Conakry, Guinea's capital, 65 suspect cases are reported to meet the clinical definition for Ebola, including 28 deaths.
 
Sierra Leone's Ministry of Health and Sanitation on June 5 reported 31 laboratory confirmed cases of Ebola. In addition, Sierra Leone cited 81 additional suspect cases and 7 deaths in 8 in the following districts: Kailahun, Kenema, Koinadugu, Bo, Moyamba, Bombali, Western area urban, and Port Loko. The CDC said that genetic analysis of the virus indicates that it is closely related (97% identical) to variants of Ebola virus (species Zaire ebolavirus) identified earlier in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Gabon. 


Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. He is also a freelance translator.

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