GENEVA (Reuters) - Guinea and Sierra Leone reported 132 new confirmed cases of Ebola in the week to March 1, an increase of 34 over the previous week, the World Health Organization said on Wednesday.
Liberia did not report any new confirmed infections in the week for the first time since May last year, but disease surveillance may not be optimal given the low number of samples, the U.N. agency said in its latest update on West Africa’s epidemic.
The WHO pointed to signs that communities were still resisting bringing infected family members to treatment centers.
Only half of the 51 new infections in Guinea came from registered contacts of Ebola patients and some cases are only identified after post-mortem testing, it said.
The deadly virus is still widespread in Sierra Leone, which recorded 81 new cases, including 26 in the capital Freetown.
“The number of confirmed Ebola virus disease deaths occurring in the community in Guinea and Sierra Leone remains high, suggesting that the need for early isolation and treatment is not yet understood, accepted or acted upon,” the WHO said in a statement.
“Unsafe burials continue to occur, with 16 reports of unsafe burials in both Guinea and Sierra Leone, respectively,” it said.
In all, more than 23,900 confirmed and suspected cases of Ebola have been reported since the outbreak began in December 2013, including some 9,800 deaths, it said. Nearly 500 health workers have been among the fatalities.
Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Tom Heneghan