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

Reports of Mass Murder on Mediterranean Smuggler’s Boat

Boat sailed from Libya with 750 migrants aboard and arrived in Italy with 569 More

Video New Thailand Hotline Targets Misbehaving Monks

Officials say move aims to restore country’s image of Buddhism, tarnished by recent high profile scandals such as opulent lifestyle, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as child sex abuse More

Study: Dust from Sahara Helped Form Bahama Islands

What does the Sahara have in common with a Caribbean island? Quite a lot, researchers say More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid