While it seems that the Ebola outbreak in West Africa continues to spread, having now killed over 1500 people, there is some good news as September starts. First, a new non-PCR based diagnostic test for Ebola has been reported on Bloomberg News. Second, WHO reports that the Ebola cases that were assumed to have spread to the Democratic Republic of Congo, are actually part of a separate, unrelated Ebola outbreak (see on Forbes). This indicates that the virus has not spread quite as extensively.
The method takes about 30 minutes or less and can be conducted in rural areas where there are no power cables, said Jiro Yasuda, professor of infectious diseases at Nagasaki University, today. The technique, initially reported in 2007 in Journal of Virological Methods by Yasuda and his colleagues, was modified to be used for the strain of Ebola that’s blamed for more than 1,550 deaths in West Africa.
The World Health Organization has just confirmed that the newly-identified cases of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in the Democratic Republic of Congo is genetically unrelated to the strain currently circulating in Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria.
A WHO collaborating research center in Franceville, Gabon, the Centre International de Recherches Médicales, had previously identified six Ebola positive samples sent to the laboratory. They report today that, “the virus in the Boende district is definitely not derived from the virus strain currently circulating in west Africa.”