News / Health

WHO: Ebola in Guinea an Outbreak, Not an Epidemic

FILE - People read news headlines at a newsstand in Conakry, March 28, 2014.
FILE - People read news headlines at a newsstand in Conakry, March 28, 2014.
Lisa Schlein
The World Health Organization (WHO) says the Ebola outbreak in Guinea is very serious, but has not reached epidemic proportions.  The latest WHO figures show 80 people have died among the 122 suspected cases of Ebola in Guinea.

The organization is trying to calm a sense of panic in some areas about the seriousness of the Ebola outbreak in the West African country of Guinea.  It rejects claims by the medical aid group Doctors Without Borders that the outbreak of the disease is “unprecedented.”

WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl says there have been larger outbreaks of Ebola recorded in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.  He says the outbreak in Guinea is relatively small compared to the one in Uganda in 2000 and 2001, which infected more than 400 people.

Four cases of the disease have been reported in the Guinean capital, Conakry, but Hartl says it is not unusual to have cases in capital cities.  

“In Gabon in the 1990s, I believe there were cases in Libreville.  The same idea where someone basically was infected elsewhere and got him or herself to Libreville because of basically the medical facilities being better in the capital than elsewhere.  The source of infection is still quite localized in the southeast of Guinea.  So, for us, this fits the pattern of all previous Ebola outbreaks,” said Hartl.

The World Health Organization says the disease has not spread to other countries.  

It says the seven suspected cases of Ebola, including four deaths, in neighboring Liberia occurred among Liberians who traveled to Guinea and were infected there.  It notes laboratory tests of several suspected cases in Sierra Leone have all come back negative.

Ebola is spread through blood and other bodily fluids from an infected person.  It can also be transmitted by the handling of contaminated corpses.  Bats and primates are the original source of the infection.

Hartl says it is essential to stop the chains of transmission.

“It is a question of controlling infection in hospitals," he said.  "It is a question of controlling transmission among the people who might have been infected and do not know they have been infected yet and are not in hospitals.  Hence, as always, the two most important things are what we do in hospitals and how we trace contacts.”

Authorities in Senegal have closed the land border with Guinea to prevent the spread of Ebola into their country.  Hartl tells VOA that WHO does not recommend travel restrictions, which he says do not make sense.  

The incubation period for Ebola can be as long as 21 days.  The World Health Organization says the outbreak cannot be considered over until two incubation periods of 42 days have passed without a single transmission of the virus.

You May Like

Multimedia Obama Defends Immigration Action

Obama says with his executive action on immigration, enforcement resources will be focused on 'felons, not families; criminals, not children' More

US-Led Airstrikes in Syria Kill Over 900: Monitoring Group

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the toll includes more than 50 civilians, five of them women and eight of them children More

Report: Obama Broadens US Combat Role in Afghanistan

The New York Times says resident Barack Obama has signed a classified order extending the role of US troops in Afghanistan for another year More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid