Ebola cases rise sharply in Sierra Leone

Friday, November 7, 2014
By Paul Martin

Liz Szabo
USA TODAY
November 7, 2014

Sierra Leone is reporting an alarming increase in the number of new Ebola cases, with 435 confirmed in the past week.

About 24% of the Ebola cases in Sierra Leone have been reported in the past three weeks, although the outbreak began in March, according to the World Health Organization.

Those stark figures contrast with the hopeful news last week from Liberia, where the number of new cases has been falling. Officials at the WHO have said the drop in Liberia could be partly due to an increase in safe burials.

Ebola transmission in Guinea, where the outbreak started, “remains intense,” according to the WHO.

Health officials from the WHO have cautioned, however, that the Ebola virus is unpredictable. Cases may appear to fall or level off only to come raging back a short time later.

Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, says people shouldn’t overreact to the latest numbers. He notes that the number of Ebola cases can vary widely from day to day and week to week, much like daily fluctuations in temperatures.

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