Ebola Infections Going Up Again 144 New Cases in Two Weeks
- The WHO reports an increase of Ebola infections the second week in a row.
- A total of 144 newly confirmed cases were reported in the week ending February 8th, according to figures from the World Health Organization, up 45% from the 99 confirmed cases reported in the week ended Jan. 25.
- New Ebola infections sharply increased in Guinea.
- The United States announced the withdrawal of nearly all troops fighting the Ebola outbreak in West Africa by end of April.
Earlier in the year the number of Ebola cases have been on a steady decline giving the the international community hope of winning the fight against the epidemic.
The increase of infection rose the most in Guinea, according to the WHO there were 65 new cases of Ebola in the first week of February while the previous week there were 39 new cases of infections confirmed.
Since the outbreak of the epidemic over a year ago, more than 9000 people have died and virtually all the deaths are in the three most affected countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
Tuesday the United States announced the withdrawal of almost all its soldiers from the Ebola affected areas of West Africa. President Barack Obama cautioned that the mission was not over, and he set an ambitious goal of eliminating the disease.
“We have risen to the challenge. Our focus now is getting to zero,”
said Obama at the White House.
Obama said only 100 of the 2,800 troops sent to Liberia will remain there after April 30. About 1,500 have returned home. Those staying will work with Liberia’s military, regional partners and U.S. civilians
Most of the U.S. soldiers were based in Liberia which is most affected by the epidemic as well as Sierra Leone and Guinea. There the troops helped with the construction of Ebola treatment centers, trained hundreds of health workers and provided logistical assistance.
A large-scale trial of two potential Ebola vaccines began Monday in Liberia. Organizers of the study, led by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, aim to enlist a total of around 27,000 healthy men and women for the trial.
The worst Ebola outbreak in world history has killed almost 9,000 people. The World Health Organization, the U.N. agency, warns that challenges remain in bringing cases to zero. Unsafe burials of infected dead are one of the challenges of eradicating the epidemic. In January 11 confirmed Ebola infections were caused by unsafe burials in Guinea’s Lola district. Those killed by the virus remain contagious, and must be buried by workers in protective equipment.
The outbreak is expected to cost the three most affected countries, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, at least $1.6 billion in lost economic growth this year.