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GENEVA, April 8 A "challenging" outbreak of the
deadly Ebola virus in West Africa is expected to take from two
to four months to contain, the World Health Organisation (WHO)
said on Tuesday.
The virus is still spreading in three "hotspots" of Guinea
Forestiere, a southeastern region some 900 km (560 miles) from
Guinea's capital of Conakry, a city which has itself reported
20 cases to date, the United Nations agency said.
But the WHO said it was not recommending any travel
restrictions for Guinea, which has a total of 157 suspected and
confirmed cases including 101 deaths, or for Liberia, which has
21 suspected and confirmed cases, including 10 deaths.
"We fully expect to be engaged in this outbreak for the next
two to three to four months before we are comfortable that we
are through it," Dr. Keija Fukuda, WHO assistant
director-general, told a Geneva news briefing.
"This is one of the most challenging outbreaks of Ebola we
have ever faced," he said.
It is also the first to strike West Africa, where some
people have become infected from burial practices that involve
direct contact with body fluids of the deceased.
WHO medical officer Stephane Hugonnet, just back from
Guinea, said: "In Guinea Forestiere, the outbreak is not over,
this is the epicentre. As long as it is not over there, there
will be cases exported to the rest of the country."
Some 50 foreign experts have been deployed to help with
infection control measures at hospitals and to trace 600 known
contacts of infected patients, he said.
Most new cases were linked to known transmission chains,
which he said was "reassuring".
(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay Editing by Gareth Jones)