DAKAR/CONAKRY May 23 Guinean health officials
announced two new confirmed cases of Ebola on Friday in an area
previously untouched by the virus, which has killed more than
100 people in West Africa but which Guinea's government has said
is now under control.
West Africa's first deadly outbreak of Ebola spread from a
remote corner of the country to the capital, Conakry, and into
neighbouring Liberia, causing panic across a region struggling
with weak healthcare systems and porous borders.
"We recorded two new cases in Telimele. They are the first
in this locality, which is in fact a new outbreak," said Mamadou
Rafi Diallo, a spokesperson for Guinea's health ministry, adding
that the two were being treated in isolation.
Ebola - a haemorrhagic fever with a fatality rate of up to
90 percent - causes symptoms ranging from flu-like pains to
internal and external bleeding. It is transmitted between humans
by touching victims or through bodily fluids.
The new cases may have been due to the two coming into
contact with the body of another victim at a funeral service.
Such contact has been responsible for a number of transmissions
since the outbreak was first identified in March.
"We're talking about a woman who was buried there without
care," Diallo said. Authorities were not considering the dead
woman as a confirmed case as she had not been tested for the
The government said it was also closely monitoring 41 people
who had come into contact with the two confirmed sufferers in
Telimele, about 250 km (160 miles) from the capital Conakry.
"The government is working with partners to put in place a
treatment centre, to identify everyone who has made contact with
Ebola victims as well as raise awareness and distribute hygiene
kits," the government said in a statement on Friday.
Ebola has infected around 170 people elsewhere in Guinea and
in Liberia and killed more than 100, although the death toll is
likely higher as the government is only counting cases that have
been confirmed through laboratory testing.
No new cases of Ebola have been detected since April 26 in
Conakry, where an outbreak could pose the biggest threat of an
epidemic due to the city's role as an international travel hub.
(Writing by Misha Hussain for the Thomson Reuters Foundation;
Editing by Joe Bavier and Hugh Lawson)