The outbreak of the highly contagious Ebola, which
in its more acute phase, causes vomiting, diarrhea and external
bleeding, has sent Guinea's West African neighbors scrambling to
contain the spread of the disease.
Eleven deaths in towns in northern Sierra Leone and Liberia, which
shares borders with southeastern Guinea where the outbreak was first
reported, are suspected to be linked to Ebola.
WHO said that as of March 29, seven clinical samples from adult
patients from Foya district in Liberia were tested.
"Two of those samples have tested positive for the ebolavirus," the
global health organization said in the statement on its website on
Sunday, confirming for the first time the cases in country.
"There have been 2 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," it said.
An official of Liberia's health ministry who requested anonymity
said the government was aware and would issue a statement on Monday.
The suspected spread of disease into Liberia and Sierra Leone has
stirred concern that one of the most lethal infectious diseases
known to man could spread in a poor corner of West Africa, where
health systems are ill-equipped to cope.
Authorities in Guinea's northwestern neighbor Senegal closed its
land border on Saturday and suspended weekly markets near the
borders where fresh produce from Guinea were sold in order to
prevent the spread of the Ebola virus.
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Sanitary checks have also been introduced on flights between
Dakar and the Guinean capital Conakry. Regional airline Gambia Bird
has also announced that it will delay the launch of services to
Conakry, due to start on Sunday, because of the outbreak.
The World Health Organisation said in the statement it does not
recommend any travel or trade restrictions be applied to Liberia,
Guinea or Sierra Leone based on the current information available
about the outbreak.
Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people since it was first recorded
in 1976 in what is now Democratic Republic of Congo, but this is the
first fatal outbreak in West Africa.
(Additional reporting by Bate Felix and David Lewis in Dakar;
writing by Bate Felix; editing by Eric Walsh)
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