The situation in west Africa with Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) has shown increases in both clinically compatible cases and fatalities in Guinea, according to a World Health Organization (WHO) update today.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) of Guinea has reported a cumulative total of 208 clinical cases of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), including 136 deaths as of Apr. 20. To date, 169 patients have been tested for ebolavirus infection and 112 cases have been laboratory confirmed, including 69 deaths. In addition, 41 cases (34 deaths) meet the probable case definition for EVD and 55 cases (33 deaths) are classified as suspected cases. Twenty-five (25) health care workers (HCW) have been affected (18 confirmed), with 16 deaths (12 confirmed).
In Liberia, from Mar. 13 to Apr. 21, the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare of Liberia has reported a total of 34 clinically compatible cases of EVD; 6 confirmed cases, including 6 deaths, 2 probable cases and 26 suspected cases.
In Sierra Leone, clinical samples from 19 clinically compatible cases of EVD have been tested at the Kenema Government Hospital. All 19 samples tested negative for ebolavirus. For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page.
According to the WHO, Ebola first appeared in 1976 in 2 simultaneous outbreaks, in Nzara, Sudan, and in Yambuku, Democratic Republic of Congo. The latter was in a village situated near the Ebola River, from which the disease takes its name.
Ebolavirus comprises 5 distinct species: Bundibugyo ebolavirus (BDBV), Zaire ebolavirus (EBOV), Reston ebolavirus (RESTV), Sudan ebolavirus (SUDV) and Taï Forest ebolavirus (TAFV). While most species have been implicated in human disease and outbreaks, the RESTV species, found in Philippines and the People’s Republic of China, can infect humans, but no illness or death in humans from this species has been reported to date.
Ebola is introduced into the human population through close contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected animals. In Africa, infection has been documented through the handling of infected chimpanzees, gorillas, fruit bats, monkeys, forest antelope and porcupines found ill or dead or in the rainforest.
Ebola then spreads in the community through human-to-human transmission, with infection resulting from direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes) with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected people, and indirect contact with environments contaminated with such fluids. Burial ceremonies in which mourners have direct contact with the body of the deceased person can also play a role in the transmission of Ebola.
The incubation period for EVD ranges from 2 to 21 days. The onset of illness is abrupt and is characterized by fever, headache, joint and muscle aches, sore throat, and weakness, followed by diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach pain. A rash, red eyes, hiccups and internal and external bleeding may be seen in some patients.
The death rate for EVD can be up to 90%. There is no standard treatment for Ebola Virus Disease.