(RxWiki News) After reports last week that the rate of new Ebola cases in Liberia was slowing, new reports indicated a spike in cases in Guinea and Sierra Leone. Meanwhile, Texas, where a few cases broke out in October, hasn't seen a new case in 21 days.
On Friday, Dallas health officials were set to clear the last of 16 people who had been monitored for Ebola symptoms for 21 days, the incubation period for Ebola.
And while Liberia — the hardest-hit country in the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa — cautiously celebrated a decline in new cases last week, two other West African countries, Guinea and Sierra Leone, reported a sharp rise in new cases.
The current Ebola outbreak is thought to have started in Guinea — the first case was reported there last March. But, until recently, Guinea had fared much better than its neighbors, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
New reports from the World Health Organization (WHO), however, indicate that Guinea confirmed 247 new cases of Ebola in the 21 days leading up to Nov. 2 — that's nearly 17 percent of the total cases in the country since the current outbreak began. In the 21 days leading up to Oct. 31, Liberia confirmed 19 new cases — less than 1 percent of its total cases.
Sierra Leone has seen the sharpest spike in cases. In the 21 days leading up to Nov. 1, the country confirmed 1,160 cases, WHO reports. That's nearly 29 percent of its confirmed cases in the current outbreak.
According to USA Today, health officials said that rises and falls during large outbreaks are common and do not necessarily indicate that the disease is becoming worse or getting better.
Meanwhile, fears of an outbreak in the US have relaxed with the news that almost all the patients possibly exposed to Ebola in Dallas, TX, had been cleared. Officials were expected to clear the final patient later on Friday, reports The New York Times.
These people were placed under watch after coming into contact with Liberian man Thomas Eric Duncan, who died of Ebola in a Dallas hospital, or two nurses who treated him. After treating Duncan, the two nurses — Nina Pham and Amber Vinson — contracted Ebola. Both have since been treated and released from the hospital.
The Ebola virus can cause the often fatal Ebola virus disease. It is marked by symptoms such as high fever, nausea, vomiting and unexplained bleeding. In the current outbreak, more than 13,000 people have become infected and more than 4,800 have died.
Ebola can only be spread through the blood or other bodily fluids of an infected person. Even then, the person must be showing symptoms to be contagious.