Ebola Outbreak Spreads: Liberia Confirms 2 Cases, 70-Plus in Guinea

Monday, 31 Mar 2014 07:48 AM

By Nick Sanchez

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The government of Liberia has confirmed two cases of the deadly Ebola virus, which has reportedly killed more than 70 in neighboring nation Guinea. 

It is the first time the virus has affected West Africa.

"There have been two deaths among the suspected cases; a 35-year-old woman who died on 21 March tested positive for ebolavirus while a male patient who died on 27 March tested negative," the World Health Organization reported, according to Reuters.

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In total, seven samples from adult patients in the Foya district were tested as of March 29.

Beyond the two confirmed cases, eleven deaths across Sierra Leone and Liberia are suspected to have been caused by Ebola as well.

On Sunday, Senegal's Interior Ministry closed the country's southern border shared with Guinea, as well as a large market that draws thousands from the neighboring West African countries of Guinea, Gambia, and Guinea-Bissau. The effort comes as an attempt to stem the spread of the deadly virus, a biosafety level 4 pathogen with a fatality rate of nearly 90 percent. 

There is no vaccine or cure for Ebola, and those infected typically exhibit symptoms similar to malaria in the beginning stages. Symptoms include hemorrhagic fever, followed by internal and external bleeding, most notably from the eyes and ears.

Ebola is highly contagious, usually transmitted through contact with the infected. There is also some evidence that some types of the virus can be spread through the air.

Flights between Dakar and the Guinean capital Conakry have started sanitary checks, and Gambia Bird airlines said they will delay service to Conakry that was supposed to start on Sunday.

Based on current information, the World Health Organization does not recommend any travel or trade restrictions for Guinea, Liberia or Sierra Leone.

First recorded in 1976 in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ebola has killed more than 1,500. A severe outbreak in 1995 resulted in 245 deaths in Kikwit, also in the Congo.

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