Sierra Leone Ebola: 5 Die in New Outbreak as Virus Spreads

Image: Sierra Leone Ebola: 5 Die in New Outbreak as Virus Spreads 2013 file photo of signage informing visitors that it is a ebola infected area.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014 03:54 PM

By Morgan Chilson

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A deadly outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa has spread to Sierra Leone, where five people have died in the first outbreak in that country.

The Ebola outbreak was thought contained to Guinea and Liberia, which have been battling the disease since March.

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The U.N.’s World Health Organization on Friday reported 258 cases with 174 deaths, some confirmed as Ebola and some listed as probable or suspected, since the outbreak began.

“Ebola is a disease that knows no mercy,” a WHO video release on the Guinea outbreak said.

The hemorrhagic fever has as high as 90 percent fatality rate, but it can be controlled with proper measures, WHO said, the most important of which is early intervention.

BBC News reported that one of those dead in Sierra Leone was a healthcare worker. The WHO was sending experts on the Ebola virus to Sierra Leone to help with the outbreak.

Ebola was first reported in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Uganda and South Sudan. But the West African strain has been determined to be a different strain.

CBC News reported that a woman in Sierra Leone who was suspected of having the Ebola virus was taken from the hospital by relatives, despite medical authorities saying she could infect others.

The family was reported to be suspicious of medical personnel.

“She can infect others, her family members, and also those in the community,” Amara Jambai, the health ministry's director of disease prevention and control, told CBC News. “There is no news of her condition because she has been taken away so we need to search and find her and make sure that it doesn’t spread.”

The University of Texas is reporting that researchers there are on the “cusp” of developing a vaccine for Ebola virus. The vaccine helped both rodents and primates who were exposed to Ebola.

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Related Stories:

Ebola Virus Death Toll Hits 147 in Unusual West African Outbreak
Ebola Outbreak 'Under Control' in Guinea, No New Cases, Officials Say

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