GENEVA/CONAKRY, (Reuters) – Guinea’s capital Conakry has recorded its first new Ebola cases in more than a month, while other previously unaffected areas have also reported infections in the past week, according to the World Health Organisation.
The spread of the two-month-old outbreak, which Guinean authorities earlier said had been contained, risks further complicating the fight against the virus in a region already struggling with weak healthcare systems and porous borders.
“The situation is serious, you can’t say it is under control as cases are continuing and it is spreading geographically,” Dr Pierre Formenty, a WHO expert who recently returned from Guinea, told a news briefing in Geneva on Wednesday. “There was no decline. In fact it is because we are not able to capture all the outbreak that we were under the impression there was a decline,” he said.
The WHO reported two new cases, including one death, between May 25 and 27 in Conakry. They were the first to be detected since April 26. An outbreak in the capital could pose the biggest threat because the city is Guinea’s international travel hub.
Telimele and Boffa – two districts north of Conakry previously untouched by the disease – both confirmed outbreaks through laboratory testing, the WHO said. Twelve cases, including four deaths, were reported there between May 23 and 26, while suspected Ebola infections were documented in the adjacent districts of Boke and Dubreka.
Aboubacar Sidiki Diakite, who heads the Guinean government’s efforts to halt the virus’s spread, said the origins of all the new outbreaks had been traced back to cases in Conakry.