Ebola: challenges remain despite drop in cases

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The World Health Organization (WHO) has around 2,000 people under observation in Guinea and Sierra Leone. Photo: WHO/P. Haughton

Latest indications of a drop in new cases of Ebola in west Africa should not be taken as proof that the killer disease is beaten, UN medics say.

The World Health Organization (WHO), which announced just one confirmed case of the virus in Guinea and another in Sierra Leone in its weekly report, said that major challenges still remain.

WHO also said its vaccination trial in Guinea had shown initial successes.

Daniel Johnson has more.

The UN announcement of just one confirmed case of Ebola virus in Guinea and another in Sierra Leone in its latest weekly report is good news.

It's the lowest weekly total since March 2014.

And it marks a third consecutive weekly decline in confirmed cases in both countries, according to World Health Organization (WHO).

But the UN health agency warns that the killer haemorrhagic disease is not beaten yet – and that there's still "a significant risk of further transmission".

The main difficulty is tracing every single person who has come into contact with an infected carrier.

According to WHO, the single case in Guinea is a contact who it says was "lost to follow-up".

This individual is also likely to have generated "a substantial number of further high-risk contacts", WHO says.

As for the vaccine trial in Guinea, WHO says that it's to be expanded after positive results.

From now on, the rVSV-ZEBOV vaccine will now be given to everyone who's been exposed to the Ebola virus, rather than on a random basis.

To date, Ebola has claimed the lives of 11,281 people, mainly in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia – where there have been no new cases since 23 July.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations, Geneva.

Duration: 1'15"


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