The World Health Organization (WHO) reported Ebola cases in Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea rose last week for the first time in several weeks.
“An unsafe burial that took place in early January in the (Guinean) eastern prefecture of Lola, on the border with Côte d’Ivoire, has so far resulted in an outbreak of 11 confirmed cases,” the organization wrote in a report. “A further confirmed case in the northern prefecture of Siguiri, on the border with Mali, also originated in Lola.”
An Ebola victim is most contagious right after death. African tradition includes washing and kissing the dead body, which puts people in direct contact with bodily fluids of the dead. Ebola victims need to be properly buried to stop bodily fluids from leaking into the ground and water.
Unfortunately, the news comes just a week after WHO reported the number of cases hit a record low since June 2014.
“Weekly case incidence increased in all three countries for the first time this year,” said WHO. “There were 124 new confirmed cases reported in the week to 1 February: 39 in Guinea, 5 in Liberia, and 80 in Sierra Leone.”
Almost 9,000 people have died from the disease out of the nearly 23,000 reported cases. However, the United Nations organization is not too concerned since “they knew there would be flare-ups.”
“We’re on a good path, this is coming down, but we really have to be vigilant because there are still pockets of infection,” said Dr. David Nabarro.
But the organization will take precautions to keep down the numbers. WHO said Guinea, Mali, and Senegal organized meetings “to strengthen coordination of surveillance.” WHO also sent a team along the border of Guinea and Côte de I’voire near Lola “to assess risk and strengthen surveillance.”