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The Ebola epidemic in West Africa shows further signs of winding down, with just 30 new cases reported in the last week, the World Health Organization said Wednesday.
It’s good news for Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, where more than 25,000 people have been infected and more than 10,000 have died from the virus.
“This is the lowest weekly total since the third week of May 2014,” WHO says in its latest update.
No new cases have been reported in Liberia and just 9 were reported in Sierra Leone. Guinea had the most cases, with 21.
"In the context of falling case incidence and a receding zone of transmission, treatment capacity exceeds demand in Liberia and Sierra Leone," WHO added.
"Accordingly, and with technical guidance from WHO, national authorities in both countries have begun to implement plans for the phased safe decommissioning of surplus facilities. Each country will retain a core capacity of high-quality Ebola treatment centres, strategically located to ensure complete geographic coverage, with additional rapid-response capacity held in reserve."
Separately, researchers reported progress on two next-generation Ebola vaccines. They are specifically targeted against the strain affecting West Africa, and it fully protected monkeys from infection, says Thomas Geisbert of the University of Texas Medical Branch.
Other vaccines are being tested in people in all three affected countries. But earlier versions of this particular vaccine, which uses a virus called VSV, caused fever and sometimes achy joints in volunteers. The newer version should not have these problems, Geisbert's team says.
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-- Maggie Fox