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Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone recorded their first week with no new cases of Ebola since the outbreak began in March 2014.
The Ebola outbreak has so far killed more than 11,000 people in the three West African countries, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
New Ebola cases have fallen sharply in 2015, but the WHO has warned that the disease could break out again.
The epidemic is the worst known occurrence of Ebola in history.
More than 500 people believed to have had dangerous contact with an Ebola patient remain under follow-up in Guinea, the WHO said in a report.
The health agency also said several “high-risk” people linked to recent patients in Guinea and Sierra Leone had been lost track of.
Liberia has already been declared free of the disease after 42 days without a new case. It is the second time the country received the declaration, following a flare-up in June.
Sierra Leone released its last known Ebola patients on September 28 and must now wait to be declared free of the disease.
Guinea’s most recent cases were recorded on September 27.
Guinea has declared a 45-day “health emergency” in five regions in the west and south-west of the country over Ebola.
The restrictions include the quarantining of hospitals and clinics where new cases are detected, new rules on burials and possible lockdowns.
The Ebola outbreak began in Guinea in December 2013.
In January, the World Health Organization reported a steady drop in cases in the three epicenter countries.
Renewed concern has been triggered by fresh setbacks in these countries – Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.
President Alpha Conde said he was declaring “a reinforced health emergency for a period of 45 days in the prefectures of Forecariah, Coyah, Dubreka, Boffa and Kindia” in a statement published in national media.
The focus of the virus “has shifted to our country’s coastal areas”, he said.
He added: “Wherever the need may be, throughout this period, measures of restriction and confinement will be taken.”
It is a first for the country since the outbreak began, Reuters reported.
On March 27, Sierra Leone began a three-day nationwide lockdown sparked by fears the virus was making a comeback in some parts of the country.
The southwest region of Guinea borders northern districts of Sierra Leone that are focus areas for the lockdown there.
On Friday evening Guinea deployed security forces to its south-west in response to reports Sierra Leoneans were crossing the border to flee the operation, an official told Associated Press.
Sierra Leone government spokesman Theo Nicol said the two countries had agreed to police the border so people with Ebola symptoms did not cross.
Since the Ebola outbreak began more than 24,000 people in nine countries have been infected with the virus, and over 10,000 of them have died.
According to World Health Organization officials, there has been a “turning point” in the Ebola crisis, with cases falling in the three affected countries.
Just 8 cases were detected in Liberia in the last week down from a peak of 500-a-week in September. Guinea and Sierra Leone have also seen falls.
The WHO said the figures were the “most promising” since the outbreak started.
However, the agency continues to urge caution, and to highlight the need to find those who had contact with Ebola patients.
The largest outbreak of Ebola in human history has infected 21,724 people and killed 8,641 – largely in just three countries, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.
All are now showing falls in weekly cases:
- Cases in Liberia stand at 8-per-week down from a peak of 509
- Cases in Guinea stand at 20 per week down from a peak of 292
- Cases in Sierra Leone stand at 117-per-week down from a peak of 748
There are now some days in Liberia where no cases are reported at all.
A single case is enough to start an entire outbreak so identifying everyone who comes into contact with Ebola is vital.
Yet the latest WHO situation report says the number of people being traced “remains lower than expected in many districts”.
Western Sierra Leone remains another problem.
Of the 145 cases reported across all affected countries last week, more than 100 were in that region, which includes the capital Freetown.
British scientists will trial a 15-minute blood and saliva Ebola test in Guinea.
The solar-powered, portable laboratory should deliver results six times faster than tests currently used in West Africa.
The researchers involved say faster diagnosis would increase the chances of survival and reduce transmission of the virus.
The trial will take place at an Ebola treatment centre in Conakry, Guinea.
Ebola is currently diagnosed by hunting for the virus’s genetic material in the blood of a patient.
The test requires dedicated laboratories that can keep the components of the test at very low temperatures.
Patients in Conakry will still have the proven test, but the new faster method will be trialed at the same time so the results can be compared.
The project, led by the Pasteur Institute in Dakar, Senegal, uses a mobile suitcase laboratory’.
It is portable, solar-powered and can be used at room temperature.
The project is being funded by the Wellcome Trust medical charity and the UK’s Department for International Development.
Dr. Val Snewin, the international activities manager at the Wellcome Trust, said: “A reliable, 15-minute test that can confirm cases of Ebola would be a key tool for effective management of the Ebola outbreak – allowing patients to be identified, isolated and cared for as soon as possible.
“It not only gives patients a better chance of survival, but it prevents transmission of the virus to other people.
“This pilot study is particularly promising because researchers have considered how to make the test suitable for use in remote field hospitals, where resources – such as electricity and cold storage – are often in short supply.”
The Ebola outbreak death toll has risen to 5,160, the World Health Organization (WHO) has announced in a new report.
The frequency of new cases no longer appears to be increasing nationally in Guinea and Liberia but remains high in Sierra Leone, the WHO added.
The Ebola outbreak is thought to have infected more than 14,000 people, almost all of them in West Africa.
The deaths of three more people in Mali have been reported in the past day.
The Ebola outbreak death toll has risen to 5,160
“Transmission remains intense in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone” and the frequency of new cases is still increasing in Sierra Leone, the WHO said in its situation report.
Health experts have argued that the rate of new cases is more significant that the total death toll, as it reflects how fast the virus is spreading.
More than 2,830 people have died from Ebola in Liberia, with more than 1,100 deaths in both Guinea and Sierra Leone, the WHO said.
Mali has reported four deaths from Ebola, while there were eight reported Ebola deaths in Nigeria, and one in the US.
The total number of deaths has increased by 200 since the WHO’s last situation report on November 7.
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Guinean authorities searching for a team of health workers and journalists who went missing while trying to raise awareness of Ebola have found several bodies.
A spokesman for Guinea’s government said the bodies included those of three journalists in the team.
They went missing after being attacked on Tuesday, September 16, in a village near the southern city of Nzerekore.
More than 2,600 people have now died from the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
It is the world’s worst outbreak of the deadly disease, with officials warning that more than 20,000 people could ultimately be infected.
The three doctors and three journalists disappeared after being pelted with stones by residents when they arrived in the village of Wome – near where the Ebola outbreak was first recorded.
One of the journalists managed to escape and told reporters that she could hear the villagers looking for them while she was hiding.
A government delegation, led by the health minister, had been dispatched to the region but they were unable to reach the village by road because a main bridge had been blocked.
On Thursday night, government spokesman Albert Damantang Camara said eight bodies had been found, including those of three journalists.
Guinean authorities searching for a team of health workers and journalists who went missing while trying to raise awareness of Ebola have found several bodies (photo WHO)
He said they had been recovered from the septic tank of a primary school in the village, adding that the victims had been “killed in cold blood by the villagers”.
The reason for the killings is unclear, but correspondents say many people in the region distrust health officials and have refused to co-operate with authorities, fearing that a diagnosis means certain death.
Last month, riots erupted in the area of Guinea where the health team went missing after rumors that medics who were disinfecting a market were contaminating people.
Speaking on September 18, French President Francois Hollande said his country was setting up a military hospital in Guinea as part of his country’s efforts to support the West African nations affected by the outbreak.
Francois Hollande said the hospital was a sign that France’s contribution was not just financial, adding that it would be in “the forests of Guinea, in the heart of the outbreak”.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said on September 18 that more than 700 new cases of Ebola have emerged in West Africa in just a week, showing that the outbreak was accelerating.
The WHO said there had been more than 5,300 cases in total and that half of those were recorded in the past three weeks.
The Ebola epidemic has struck Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Nigeria and Senegal.
A three-day lockdown is starting in Sierra Leone in a bid to stop the disease spreading.
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Kenya is closing its borders to travelers from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone in response to the deadly Ebola outbreak.
The health secretary said Kenyans and medical workers flying in from those states would still be allowed in.
Kenyan Airways says it will stop flights to Liberia and Sierra Leone when the ban comes in on Wednesday.
The World Health Organization (WHO) says Kenya is at “high risk” from Ebola because it is a major transport hub.
The epidemic began in Guinea in February and has since spread to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria.
On Friday, the death toll rose to 1,145 after the WHO said 76 new deaths had been reported in the two days to August 13. There have been 2,127 cases reported in total.
Earlier, Kenya’s health ministry said four suspected cases of Ebola in the country had tested negative for the virus.
The cases had involved a Liberian national and two Nigerians who had recently travelled to Kenya as well as a Zimbabwean.
Kenya is closing its borders to travelers from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone in response to the deadly Ebola outbreak
Kenya Airways said it had decided to cancel flights to Liberia and Sierra Leone’s capitals after advice from Kenya’s government.
It said all passengers booked on the suspended flights would get a full refund.
Kenya Airways said its flights to Nigeria were not affected by the suspension.
Announcing the government’s decision, Kenyan Health Minister James Macharia said it was “in the interest of public health”.
James Macharia warned that Kenyans and health workers who had returned from the three west African states would face “strict checks” and would be quarantined if necessary.
On Friday, medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said the Ebola outbreak would take at least six months to bring under control.
MSF President Joanne Liu said the situation was “deteriorating faster, and moving faster, than we can respond to”.
The WHO also admitted that the scale of the outbreak appeared to be “vastly underestimated” and said “extraordinary measures” were needed to contain it.
The Ebola disease is transmitted by direct contact with the body fluids of a person who is infected.
Initial flu-like symptoms can lead to external hemorrhaging from areas such as eyes and gums, and internal bleeding which can lead to organ failure.
The WHO says the risk of transmission of Ebola during air travel remains low.
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Guinea has decided to close its borders with Liberia and Sierra Leone to contain the spread of Ebola, which has killed 959 people in the three countries.
The latest Ebola outbreak is thought to have begun in Guinea, but Liberia and Sierra Leone are currently facing the highest frequency of new cases.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday the spread of the virus was a global health emergency.
The Ebola virus is transmitted between humans through bodily fluids.
Animals such as fruit bats carry the virus, which can be transmitted to humans through contact with blood or consumption of bushmeat.
In recent weeks, countries around the world have advised their citizens not to travel to the affected countries.
The infections have spread to Nigeria, which has recorded two deaths and several more cases.
The total number of cases in the current outbreak stands at 1,779, the WHO said on Friday.
The most recent figures from August 5 and 6 showed 68 new cases and 29 deaths.
Guinea has decided to close its borders with Liberia and Sierra Leone to contain the spread of Ebola
They included 26 new cases in Sierra Leone and 38 in Liberia, but no new cases in Guinea, where the outbreak began.
Guinea said it was closing its borders in order to stop people from entering the country.
“We have provisionally closed the frontier between Guinea and Sierra Leone because of all the news that we have received from there recently,” Health Minister Remy Lamah told a news conference.
Remy Lamah added that Guinea had also closed its border with Liberia.
Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia have already declared varying levels of emergency over the spread of the virus.
The most intense outbreak in Guinea was located in the region along the border with Liberia and Sierra Leone.
The WHO had said the worst-affected area, which straddles the borders between the three countries, would be isolated and treated as a “unified zone”.
It is not clear what effect Guinea’s announcement will have on the strategy.
The WHO said a co-ordinated response was essential.
The Ebola virus was first discovered in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1976.
Experts say the current outbreak is unusual because it started in Guinea, which has never before been affected, and is spreading to urban areas.
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According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “drastic action” is needed to contain the spread of deadly Ebola in West Africa.
Nearly 400 people have died in the Ebola outbreak which started in Guinea and has spread to neighboring Sierra Leone and Liberia.
It is the largest outbreak in terms of cases, deaths and geographical spread.
The WHO said it was “gravely concerned” and there was potential for “further international spread”.
Nearly 400 people have died in the Ebola outbreak which started in Guinea and has spread to neighboring Sierra Leone and Liberia
The Ebola outbreak started four months ago and is continuing to spread.
So far there have been more than 600 cases and around 60% of those infected with the virus have died.
Ebola, a hemorrhagic fever, has no cure and is spread by contact with the fluids of infected people or animals, such as urine, sweat and blood.
Most of the deaths have been centered in the southern Guekedou region of Guinea.
The WHO has sent 150 experts to the region to help prevent the spread of the virus but admits “there has been significant increase in the number of daily reported cases and deaths”.
Dr. Luis Sambo, the WHO’s regional director for Africa, said: “This is no longer a country-specific outbreak, but a sub-regional crisis that requires firm action.
“WHO is gravely concerned of the on-going cross-border transmission into neighboring countries as well as the potential for further international spread.
“There is an urgent need to intensify response efforts…this is the only way that the outbreak will be effectively addressed.”
The charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) has already warned that the Ebola outbreak is out of control.
Ebola virus disease (EVD):
- Symptoms include high fever, bleeding and central nervous system damage
- Fatality rate can reach 90%
- Incubation period is two to 21 days
- There is no vaccine or cure
- Supportive care such as rehydrating patients who have diarrhea and vomiting can help recovery
- Fruit bats are considered to be the natural host of the virus [youtube 2l9ung-07qU 650]
The number of deaths from the Ebola virus in Guinea has passed 100, the UN World Health Organization (WHO) says.
It was “one of the most challenging Ebola outbreaks we have ever dealt with” and could take another four months to contain, the WHO said.
The Ebola virus had now killed 101 people in Guinea and 10 in Liberia, it said.
Ebola is spread by close contact and kills between 25% and 90% of its victims.
Many West African states have porous borders, and people travel frequently between countries.
Southern Guinea is at the epicenter of the outbreak, with the first case reported last month.
The geographical spread of the outbreak is continuing to make it particularly challenging to contain – past outbreaks have involved much smaller areas.
The number of deaths from the Ebola virus in Guinea has passed 100 (photo Getty Images)
“We fully expect to be engaged in this outbreak for the next two to three to four months before we are comfortable that we are through it,” Keija Fukuda, WHO’s assistant director-general, said at a news briefing in Geneva, Reuters news agency reports.
The WHO said 157 suspected cases had been recorded in Guinea, including 20 in the capital, Conakry.
Sixty-seven of the cases have been confirmed as Ebola, it added.
In neighboring Liberia, 21 cases had been reported, with five confirmed as Ebola, the WHO said.
Mali had reported 9 suspected cases, but medical tests done so far showed that two of them did not have Ebola, it said.
Last week, Mali said it was on high alert because of fears of an outbreak of the tropical virus and it would tighten border controls.
Saudi Arabia has suspended visas for Muslim pilgrims from Guinea and Liberia, in a sign of the growing unease about the outbreak.
This is the first known outbreak in Guinea – most recent cases have been thousands of miles away in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda.
There is no known cure or vaccine for Ebola.
Ebola leads to haemorrhagic fever, causing muscle pain, weakness, vomiting, diarrhoea and, in severe cases, organ failure and unstoppable bleeding.
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Guinea government officials say the Ebola virus has been identified as the cause of an outbreak of hemorraghic fever now believed to have killed nearly 60 people in the country.
Dozens of cases have been recorded since the outbreak began early last month.
There is no known cure or vaccine for the highly contagious Ebola virus.
Ebola is spread by close personal contact with people who are infected and kills between 25% and 90% of victims.
Ebola virus has been identified as the cause of a deadly outbreak of hemorraghic fever in Guinea
The World Health Organization (WHO) says outbreaks of Ebola occur primarly in remote villages in Central and West Africa, near tropical rainforests,.
“We got the first results from Lyon yesterday [Friday] which informed us of the presence of the Ebola virus as the cause of this outbreak,” Sakoba Keita, chief disease prevention officer at the Guinean health ministry, told AFP.
“The Ebola fever epidemic raging in southern Guinea since February 9 has left at least 59 dead out of 80 cases identified by our services on the ground,” he said.
“We are overwhelmed in the field, we are fighting against this epidemic with all the means we have at our disposal with the help of our partners but it is difficult.”
Medical aid charity Medecins sans Frontieres said on Saturday it would strengthen its team in Guinea and fly some 33 tonnes of drugs and isolation equipment in from Belgium and France.
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Supreme Court in Guinea has upheld September’s election results which saw President Alpha Conde’s RPG party winning the most seats.
Opposition parties have tried to annul the vote, alleging fraud.
International observers said the election in the West African nation was marred by irregularities.
The ruling means the RPG (Rally of the Guinean People) won 53 seats, which falls short of an absolute majority in the 114-seat parliament.
Supreme Court in Guinea has upheld September’s election results which saw President Alpha Conde’s RPG party winning the most seats
“None of the complaints were supported with the necessary proof,” said Supreme Court President Mamadou Sylla.
President Alpha Conde’s main rival, Cellou Dalein Diallo, and his UFDG party won 37 seats while former PM Sidya Toure’s UFR secured 10 seats.
The remainder of seats was shared by 12 smaller parties and a period of coalition building is now expected.
A spokesman for an umbrella group of opposition parties said they were disappointed by the court’s ruling but would hold talks before announcing their next step.
The election was to replace a transitional government that has run the nation since military rule ended in 2010.
The run-up was marred by violence as well as ethnic and religious tension.
The poll was much delayed and was supposed to have been held six months after the 2010 presidential elections, which Alpha Conde narrowly won.
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