Sierra Leone confirms seven Ebola cases

2014-05-30 19:17
A medical worker from the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, who are working on the Ebola outbreak in Uganda, at their laboratory in Entebbe 42kms from the capital Kampala. (Stephen Wandera, AP)

A medical worker from the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, who are working on the Ebola outbreak in Uganda, at their laboratory in Entebbe 42kms from the capital Kampala. (Stephen Wandera, AP)

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Freetown - Sierra Leone on Friday said that it had confirmed seven cases of Ebola and suspects dozens more amid fears the deadly epidemic gripping West Africa is spreading.

"As of 28 May, there were two deaths, seven confirmed cases, three probable cases and 26 suspected cases" of Ebola, said government spokesperson Abdulai Bayratay.

Of the 26 suspected cases, 23 were registered in the eastern region of Kailahun, where Sierra Leone's first fatality from Ebola was confirmed on Monday.

Another case was in the diamond region of Kono, also in the east, and two in the capital Freetown, said Bayratay.

The haemorrhagic fever, which has no cure, has killed hundreds since it erupted in Guinea last January.

Ebola is one of a handful of similar fevers that cause vomiting, diarrhoea, muscle pain, and in severe cases, organ failure and unstoppable internal bleeding.

It can be transmitted by blood and other bodily fluids, as well as the handling of contaminated corpses or infected animals.

Sierra Leone has restricted travel in some areas, and reaffirmed an earlier ban on trips to funerals in neighbouring Guinea in a bid to stop the spread of the disease.

"I call on the population to avoid human contact in order to minimise the risk of transmission," Health Minister Miatta Kargbo told AFP.

Additional logistical support was being sent to the eastern regions of Kailahun and Kenema, where a second patient died on Tuesday, said Bayratay.

Freetown has received aid from the World Health Organization - which has sent 12 workers, $150 000 and more than 5 000 medical kits to ensure the safety of their officers - as well as Britain and Ireland.

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