Ebola Cases Spread to Sierra Leone

Ebola outbreak in West Africa continues with Sierra Leone reporting deaths and infections

(RxWiki News) An outbreak of Ebola in Africa had been showing signs of slowing, but now reports say the virus has spread into a new country.

Ebola virus disease started causing infections and illness in West Africa in March, mostly in the country of Guinea.

Health officials reported this week that Ebola infections have now been reported in the neighboring nation of Sierra Leone.

"Limit close contact with others when you are ill."

According to Reuters, five Ebola deaths and one additional infection in Sierra Leone have been reported by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Ebola virus disease is first spread from wild animals to people through contact with the bodily fluids of infected animals, and then is spread from person to person through contact with bodily fluids of infected people or environments that have been contaminated with infected fluids, WHO explains.

The virus can cause sudden fever, muscle pain and weakness, followed by liver and kidney troubles, vomiting, diarrhea, and internal and external bleeding.

Early in the West African outbreak, several suspected cases in Sierra Leone were identified, but these cases were later determined not to be Ebola infections. The new, confirmed Sierra Leone cases were discovered near the border with Guinea.

Eight new cases and three new deaths were reported in Guinea on May 23. At the latest update from WHO, 258 cases of Ebola had been reported in the outbreak in Guinea, 174 of which resulted in deaths.

This fatality rate of around 67.4 percent is lower than could be possible for the virus. In some previous outbreaks of Ebola, the fatality rate has been as high as 90 percent, said WHO.

According to Reuters, an estimated 11 Ebola deaths have occurred in the nation of Liberia.

WHO reported that actions were being taken to control and investigate the spread of the virus. At the latest update, WHO is not recommending travel or trade restrictions to affected areas.

The organization did suggest that animals be handled with gloves and that animal products be cooked thoroughly before being eaten. WHO also stressed the importance of reducing the spread of person-to-person transmission through close contact with those infected with the virus.

"Close physical contact with Ebola patients should be avoided. Gloves and appropriate personal protective equipment should be worn when taking care of ill patients at home," said WHO. "Regular hand washing is required after visiting patients in hospital, as well as after taking care of patients at home."

Review Date: 
May 27, 2014