(Bloomberg) — The death toll from an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in Guinea and Liberia increased to 106 as new cases of the disease were reported, health officials in the two West African countries said.
At least 95 people have died from the bleeding disorder in Guinea, where there are 151 suspected cases, Sakoba Keita, head of the epidemic prevention unit in the country’s Health Ministry, said by phone yesterday from the capital, Conakry.
In neighboring Liberia, 11 people succumbed to disease, eight of them in Lofa county near the border, Health Minister Walter Gwenigale told reporters in Monrovia. The country has 18 cases of the illness, he said.
On March 28, officials in Guinea knew of 103 Ebola cases and 66 deaths.
On March 24, officials in Liberia knew of five cases and five deaths.
The current outbreak is the worst in seven years and the first time the disease has been seen in West Africa.
Ebola causes high fever, diarrhea, vomiting and can lead to internal bleeding. There is no specific treatment or vaccine for the virus, which kills 50 percent to 90 percent of those who contract it, according to the World Health Organization. Prior to the current wave, a total of 2,387 cases led to 1,590 deaths, the WHO said.
First identified in 1976 near the Ebola River in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo, the virus is transmitted to people through blood and other secretions of wild animals such as chimpanzees, gorillas, bats and porcupines, according to the WHO. Humans transmit the virus to each other through contact with blood and other body fluids.
In the past, most outbreaks ended quickly, in part because the victims became too sick too quickly to travel.