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Andromeda Strain? Ebola outbreak in West Africa is new strain of disease

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
4/18/2014 (3 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

122 deaths in Guinea, 13 in Liberia blamed on horrific disease

A deadly outbreak of the Ebola virus, a virulent incurable disease where the body's internal organs "melt" in ongoing in West Africa. To date, 122 deaths in Guinea and 13 deaths in Liberia have been blamed on the disease. Since Ebola is endemic to the countries of Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, South Sudan and Gabon, it was at first believed that the recent outbreak was imported from one of those countries. Researchers now say that the Ebola roiling the West Africa is an entirely different strain of the virus.  

Using analysis of blood samples from infected patients, researchers determined that while the Guinean form of the Ebola virus (EBOV) showed a 97 percent similarity to the Zaire strain, the disease was not introduced from Central Africa.

Using analysis of blood samples from infected patients, researchers determined that while the Guinean form of the Ebola virus (EBOV) showed a 97 percent similarity to the Zaire strain, the disease was not introduced from Central Africa.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
4/18/2014 (3 years ago)

Published in Africa

Keywords: Ebola, Guinea, Liberia, outbreak


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The outbreak of Ebola from a remote corner of Guinea spreading to neighboring Liberia is cause for grave concern. This part of the world struggles with weak healthcare systems and porous borders daily.

Using analysis of blood samples from infected patients, researchers determined that while the Guinean form of the Ebola virus (EBOV) showed a 97 percent similarity to the Zaire strain, the disease was not introduced from Central Africa.

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"This study demonstrates the emergence of a new EBOV strain in Guinea," the group of more than 30 doctors and scientists wrote on the Web site of the New England Journal of Medicine.

With no vaccine or cure for Ebola, which has a fatality rate of up to 90 percent, the disease's suspected origin is forest bats. Ebola can be transmitted between humans by touching victims or through bodily fluids.

"It is possible that EBOV has circulated undetected in this region for some time. The emergence of the virus in Guinea highlights the risk of EBOV outbreaks in the whole West African sub region," the report continued.

Of the 197 clinical cases of Ebola declared in Guinea, 122 have died including several health workers. Sixteen have died in the capital of Conakry.

Guinea's government had previously placed the death toll at 106. The number of new cases has since fallen rapidly. The outbreak was nearly under control.

A senior health ministry official told Reuters on Thursday the government planned to stop publicly releasing the death toll to avoid causing unnecessary panic.

Liberia's health ministry has recorded at least 13 deaths from 26 confirmed and suspected cases of Ebola.

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