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West African Ebola Outbreak May be Coming Under Control

Apr 15, 2014 04:47 PM EDT
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The deadly outbreak of Ebola virus in West Africa appears to be getting under control, according to Guinea's health ministry.

In recent weeks, Ebola has been confirmed or suspected in Guinea, Liberia, Mali and Sierra Leone. At least 119 people in the region are believed to have died after contracting Ebola, with the majority of cases being reported in Guinea, according to the most recent data available from the World Health Organization (WHO).

"The number of new cases have fallen rapidly," Rafi Diallo, a spokesman for Guinea's health ministry, told Reuters. "Once we no longer have any new cases ... we can say that it is totally under control."

Diallo said new cases being monitored consist of people who have been in contact with people who had fallen ill from Ebola, but were not ill themselves.

Ebola is one of the world's most deadly diseases, with a mortality rate has high as 90 percent for some strains, according to the WHO. According to Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors without Boarders) the outbreak in Guinea features the most aggressive and deadly strain of Ebola, the Zaire strain.

This recent outbreak started in a remote section of Guinea and spread around the country, including into the densely population capital city, Conakry.

Some of the Ebola cases reported include people who came into contact with deceased bodies carrying the disease, as well as the virus being spread at local hospitals, according to the WHO.

In Guinea, at least 106 people have died from Ebola, which causes a severe, high fever resulting in hemorrhage of internal organs and into the skin. Other symptoms of Ebola include extreme weakness, muscle pain and headaches, followed by vomiting diarrhea, rash, impaired kidney and liver functions, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding, according to a WHO fact sheet.

In Liberia, 13 Ebola-related deaths have been confirmed, while not deaths have been reported in Mali or Sierra Leone.

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