The Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) grew by 8 cases today, putting the total at 1,100, and in research developments, new findings from Guinea’s outbreak shed light on the role of Ebola treatment units in preventing secondary spread.
In addition, another research team described how blood from vaccine trial participants might lead to new antibody treatments.
The new DRC cases are reflected in the World Health Organization (WHO) online Ebola dashboard, which notes that 277 suspected cases are still under investigation. The number of deaths held steady, at 683.
Treatment units tied to fewer infections
To help sift out which risk factors are linked to secondary Ebola spread, a research team from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and their collaborators in Guinea analyzed 860 cases in 129 transmission during the last half of Guinea’s Ebola outbreak. They described their findings today in an early online edition of the American Journal of Epidemiology.
Ring vaccination was under way during the trial, and, to adjust for it as a confounder, the investigators removed participants from the study analysis.
Focusing on characteristics that led to secondary transmission, they found that admission to an Ebola treatment unit was associated with a 38% decrease in secondary cases in people who did not survive their infections. Another key factor was unsafe burial, which was associated with a nearly doubled transmission rate.