May 2015 – Ebola Outbreak – Update

May 2015 – Ebola Outbreak – Update

According to the WHO’s May 13 SitRep, a total of 9 new confirmed Ebola cases were reported in the week leading up to May 10: seven cases in Guinea and two cases in Sierra Leone. This is the lowest weekly total this year. In the previous week, both countries reported nine cases.

As of May 12, Sierra Leone had reported eight consecutive days without a confirmed case. Of the seven cases reported for Guinea, six came from one prefecture, which has been the focus of transmission for several weeks. Four of the six cases were from one sub-prefecture that borders Sierra Leone. The seventh confirmed case was identified post mortem in a separate prefecture. Investigations have not been able to establish a link with a previously reported case. The absence of an established epidemiological link between this case and a known chain of transmission is of concern. Preliminary reports from that prefecture since May 10 indicate that the case has resulted in at least three additional confirmed cases.

In total, four of the seven cases reported from Guinea in the week leading up to May 10 were identified post mortem. One of the seven cases was a registered contact of a previous case. For the third consecutive week there was a decline in the number of reported unsafe burials, with 23 unsafe burials out of 368 reported community deaths. Based on the information above, tracking transmission chains is still a challenge and there remains a possibility of an increase in case reports and/or geographical spread in the coming weeks.

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In Sierra Leone, the two reported cases were from one area of Freetown. The two patients were known contacts of a previous case and were under quarantine when symptoms developed. Following treatment, one of the two patients has tested negative for Ebola two times.

On May 9, the Ebola virus outbreak in Liberia was declared over after 42 days had elapsed since the burial of the last confirmed case in the country. The country has now entered a three-month period of heightened vigilance. WHO will maintain an enhanced presence in the country until the end of 2015, with a particular focus on areas that border Guinea and Sierra Leone.

On May 12, WHO received notification of a laboratory-confirmed case in Italy. The patient is a volunteer health worker who returned from Sierra Leone on May 7. The patient developed symptoms on May 10 and was transported to a hospital infectious diseases ward on May 11. The patient was transferred to the National Institute for Infectious Diseases in Rome on May 12, following confirmation of Ebola. There have been a total of 868 confirmed healthcare worker infections reported in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone since the start of the outbreak, with 507 reported deaths.

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