The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) has reported the highest weekly number of Ebola cases in Guinea so far this year and noted that while transmission was confined to a narrow geographically contiguous arc straddling the capitals of Guinea and Sierra Leone, the population is highly mobile, thus creating a challenge “to prevent the seeding of new outbreaks.”
And to date, there have been more than 25,000 cases of Ebola reported in the hardest-hit West African countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone with over 10,000 reported deaths, according to WHO.
According to the latest update, a total of 150 new confirmed cases of Ebola virus disease were reported in the week to 15 March, compared with 116 the previous week.
Of these new cases, 95 were in Guinea, the highest weekly total for the country in 2015, according to the update.
“Key response indicators for Guinea suggest that there remain significant challenges to overcome before transmission is brought under control,” the WHO report said.
Sierra Leone reported 55 new confirmed cases over the same period: the country’s lowest weekly total since late June 2014, and Liberia reported no new confirmed cases for the third consecutive week, WHO reported.
The 15th of March was day 12 since the last patient in Liberia had a second negative test for Ebola, the agency said, noting that 42 days must elapse before transmission can be considered to have ended.
WHO said 12 districts in Guinea and Sierra Leone reported a confirmed case in the week to 15 March, all of which lie on a geographically contiguous arc in and around Conakry, Guinea to the north and Freetown, Sierra Leone to the south.
“Though transmission is currently confined to a relatively narrow geographic corridor, the population is highly mobile, with a great deal of movement throughout surrounding districts and countries,” report said. “Limiting the movements of cases and contacts is challenging but essential to prevent the seeding of new outbreaks.”
By contrast with Guinea, key response indicators for Sierra Leone present a more promising outlook,” the update said.
The UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER) reported today that the World Food Programme (WFP) is supporting the construction of the Nongo Ebola Treatment Unit in Guinea.
Also, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) is increasing its support to medical waste management at Sierra Leone's hospitals and treatment units, UNMEER reported, noting sterilization machines will improve the quality of infection control practices in Sierra Leone's hospitals.