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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid