Case numbers edge upward in West Africa Ebola outbreak

Guinea’s health ministry today reported 10 more infections compatible with Ebola virus disease (EVD), as hospital officials in the country’s capital probe a cluster of cases linked to a funeral, one of which involved a doctor who died from his infection, the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Africa reported today.

The new EVD cases in Guinea lift the country’s outbreak total to 168. Seven new deaths have been reported, pushing the fatality number to 108. So far 71 of the infections have been confirmed by lab tests.

As of Apr 11, the most recent illness onsets are Apr 10, in patients from Conakry, the capital, and Guekedou, an area in the forested area of southeastern Guinea, near where the outbreak is thought to have started. The onset date falls well within the disease’s 2- to 21-day incubation period, a sign that that the outbreak is ongoing.

The WHO said doctors at the Donka Hospital isolation facility in Conakry are probing a cluster of patients who had funeral contact with a relative who died on Apr 1 from a suspected malaria infection. Two of the contacts were admitted on Apr 12 and tested positive for EVD. An internal medicine doctor who had treated the patient and later died is also part of the transmission chain. The WHO said he had symptoms of EVD but no bleeding and that his postmortem samples were positive for the virus.

So far 16 healthcare workers are among Guinea’s EVD cases, and in 11 of those the infections were lab-confirmed. The WHO said efforts to promote safe burial practices are ongoing and that in response to the cluster, hospital officials are beefing up surveillance, triage procedures, and infection control.

As of Apr 10, 11 patients were still hospitalized, and 37 had been discharged. Medical teams are still monitoring 396 contacts.

Liberia’s health ministry is reporting one more EVD case as of Apr 11, raising that country’s total to 26, according to the WHO. One more patient has died, edging the number of fatalities there to 13. Among the country’s six lab-confirmed case-patients, three are healthcare workers.

The most recent clinical case was detected Apr 11, and the most recent lab-confirmed patient was hospitalized Apr 4. So three people remain hospitalized, and five who tested negative were discharged. Health officials are still monitoring 35 contacts.

In Mali, the total number of suspected cases remains at six—three in Bamako, the country’s capital, and three in two different cities in the Koulikoro region. Tests on samples from the patients are under way at the Pasteur Institute in Senegal and results are expected shortly, the WHO said. Earlier results on two other suspected patients from Mali were negative.




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