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New Ebola Strain in West Africa Detailed — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
April 17, 2014

New Ebola Strain in West Africa Detailed

By Kelly Young

A brief report in the New England Journal of Medicine describes the emergence of a new strain of Ebolavirus in Guinea.

The first suspected case is a 2-year-old child who died on December 6. Most of the initial cases reported diarrhea, vomiting, and fever, while hemorrhage was not as common. Of 111 clinically suspected cases studied, 71% died.

It is not yet clear how the virus likely jumped from animals to humans, but the similarity among the viral genetic sequences suggests a single esource. Also, this strain appears to have evolved parallel to strains in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Gabon and was not introduced into Guinea from those countries.

Reuters reports that Guinea's health ministry has seen progress in containing the virus, and the number of new cases appears to be slowing. To date, roughly 130 people have died, and the virus has spread to Guinea's capital, Conakry, and into Liberia.

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