In what the World Health Organization (WHO) has called a rapidly evolving Ebola virus outbreak in Guinea, sick patients in neighboring Liberia are being tested, and officials today ruled out an Ebola infection in a Canadian traveler who had recently visited West Africa.
The count of lab-confirmed cases in Guinea stayed at 13, as reported by the WHO late yesterday, with the numbers of suspected cases and deaths also remaining the same at 86 and 59, the WHO said in a note e-mailed to the media today.
WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl said in a Twitter post today that many different diseases produce symptoms similar to Ebola and other viral hemorrhagic fevers and that some cases will undoubtedly be ruled out.
Six of seven blood samples had tested positive for the virus at the Pasteur Institute in Lyon, France, and seven other cases were confirmed at a Pasteur Institute lab deployed from Dakar, Senegal.
Tests have confirmed that that the subtype involved in the outbreak is Zaire, the WHO said. Earlier tests on a gene segment from one of the samples initially suggested the outbreak likely involved the Zaire subtype, which has a mortality rate as high as 90%.
Of six suspected cases in Liberia, which borders the districts in Guinea that have reported cases, two samples have been obtained and are being tested. Yesterday, health officials said suspected cases were being investigated in neighboring Sierra Leone as well.
The patients in Liberia—four women, a boy, and a girl—came from Guinea for treatment in a hospital in the northern part of the country, Agence-France Presse (AFP) reported today. A government official said health inspectors have been in the area since Mar 21 and are collecting samples, tracing contacts, and educating local health teams.
Meanwhile, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) released a statement today that said a patient in Saskatchewan does not have Ebola, Lassa, Marburg, or Crimean Congo virus. It added that more tests are under way to diagnose the patient's illness.