(RxWiki News) As infections continue, the Ebola outbreak in West Africa is causing health experts around the globe increasing concern.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recently released updated case counts. More than 700 deaths have now been tied to the outbreak.
US health officials responded this week with travel warnings to the region and stressing the importance of health care workers' safety while abroad.
"Limit close contact with others while ill."
On July 31, WHO reported that, as of July 27, a total of 1,323 Ebola cases and 729 deaths have occurred in the West African countries of Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone since the outbreak began in February.
Cases have spiked recently — with 122 new cases and 57 deaths between July 24 and 27 alone.
Guinea has seen the bulk of the cases (460 infections and 339 deaths), followed by Sierra Leone (533 infections and 233 deaths), Liberia (329 infections and 156 deaths) and Nigeria, which has only reported one case. Nigeria's lone patient has since died.
In a telebriefing from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Stephan Monroe, deputy director of the CDC's National Center for Emerging Zoonotic and Infectious Diseases, stressed that, although the outbreak doesn't pose a major threat to those on US soil, the situation is serious.
"I want to underscore that Ebola poses little risk to the US general population," Monroe said. "Transmission is through direct contact of bodily fluids of an infected person or exposure objects like needles that have been contaminated with infected secretions. Nevertheless, because people do travel between West Africa and the US, CDC needs to be prepared for the very remote possibility that one of those travelers could get Ebola and return to the US while sick."
The CDC has issued a Level 3 Travel Warning for the region. The warning advises against nonessential travel to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
The CDC also reported that it is focusing on educating US health care workers about how to prevent the spread of Ebola.
Symptoms of Ebola often include fever, weakness, muscle pain, vomiting, diarrhea, rash and, in some cases, internal and external bleeding. According to WHO, the period between the time of Ebola infection and symptoms developing can last between two and 21 days.