Ebola Tide Subsided, but the Fight's Not Over

Ebola case rates have decreased overall but saw an increase in recent weeks

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD Beth Bolt, RPh

(RxWiki News) The US is set to withdraw nearly all of its troops deployed to fight the Ebola outbreak in West Africa — a sign of the disease's recent slowdown. Officials cautioned, however, that the fight isn't over.

While the spread of Ebola has slowed during the last month, the last two weeks have seen sharp increases in some countries, reports the World Health Organization (WHO). New cases remained common in Sierra Leone, while Guinea saw a sharp increase from the previous week.

Liberia maintained a lower rate of new cases. In fact, on Monday, the country reopened many schools that had been closed for six months to prevent the spread of Ebola, reports Reuters.

"Despite improvements in case finding and management, burial practices, and community engagement, the decline in case incidence has stalled," according to a recent WHO report. "The spike in cases in Guinea and continued widespread transmission in Sierra Leone underline the considerable challenges that must still be overcome to get to zero cases."

The new case rate has slowed in all three of the hardest-hit West African countries. In December, Sierra Leone was reporting around 500 new cases each week. By early February, that figure had dropped to 65, according to WHO reports.

Last week, however, Sierra Leone reported 76 new cases, the WHO reports.

Still, when compared to numbers in the months after the start of the outbreak in May 2014, Ebola case rates are relatively low. Just over a week ago, Doctors Without Borders announced that testing of a potential Ebola cure was halted in West Africa because there were too few patients to test.

Many health workers, and even about 100 US military members, however, plan to remain in West Africa to fight the spread of Ebola, reports The New York Times.

The current Ebola outbreak has sickened more than 21,000 people. The Ebola virus causes Ebola virus disease. This often fatal disease is marked by nausea, vomiting, high fever and unexplained bleeding. It's only contagious through the infected bodily fluids of Ebola patients. Those patients must be showing symptoms to be contagious.


Review Date: 
February 13, 2015
Last Updated:
February 16, 2015