(Bloomberg) — The death toll from the worst Ebola outbreak in seven years climbed to 80 in Guinea as the aid organization Doctors Without Borders said the disease’s geographical spread marks the flare-up as unprecedented.
In neighboring Liberia, one of two confirmed cases has died, while a second person who died with a suspected Ebola infection tested negative for the virus, the World Health Organization said in a statement. Both confirmed cases in Liberia were exposed to Ebola in Guinea, Gregory Hartl, a WHO spokesman, said on Twitter.
The outbreak is the first in Guinea, which has 122 suspected or confirmed cases, the WHO said yesterday. The pattern of infection, with patients found in the coastal capital of Conakry as well as villages in the country’s southern area, marks this outbreak as different, according to Mariano Lugli of Doctors Without Borders.
“We are facing an epidemic of a magnitude never before seen in terms of the distribution of cases,” Lugli, coordinator of the organization’s project in Conakry, said in a statement. The group “has intervened in almost all reported Ebola outbreaks in recent years, but they were much more geographically contained and involved more remote locations.”
Guinea’s government has asked people not to eat monkeys, chimpanzees and bats and to avoid travel in the affected areas, while Senegal closed its southern border with Guinea. The WHO said it doesn’t recommend any restrictions on travel to or trade with Liberia or Guinea.
No cases have been reported in Sierra Leone, which shares borders with Guinea and Liberia near the worst affected area.
The Economic Community of West African States expressed “deep concern” over the outbreak and asked for international help in combating the “serious threat” to regional security.