New Ebola Virus Outbreak Declared in Guinea

February 15/2021 (Walta) – A new Ebola virus outbreak has been declared in the West African country of Guinea which has claimed three lives so far, according to the World Health Organization.

The outbreak was declared in the rural community of Goueke in N’Zerekore prefecture after three Ebola cases were confirmed by the national laboratory, marking the first time the disease has been reported in the country since an outbreak ended in 2016, the Africa office of the global health body said in a statement on Sunday.

“Initial investigations found that a nurse from the local health facility died on 28 January 2021. Following her burial, six people who attended the funeral reported Ebola-like symptoms and two of them have died, while the other four have been hospitalized,” according to the WHO Africa.

Guinea was one of the three most-affected countries in the 2014-2016 West Africa Ebola outbreaks which were the largest since the virus was first discovered in 1976.

The disease caused global alarm in 2014 when the world’s worst outbreak began in West Africa, killing more than 11,300 people and infecting an estimated 28,600 people as it swept through Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.

“It’s a huge concern to see the resurgence of Ebola in Guinea, a country which has already suffered so much from the disease. However, banking on the expertise and experience built during the previous outbreak, health teams in Guinea are on the move to quickly trace the path of the virus and curb further infections,” said Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO regional director for Africa.

“The WHO is supporting the authorities to set up testing, contact-tracing and treatment structures and to bring the overall response to full speed,” she added.

The WHO said it is already working with health authorities in Liberia and Sierra Leone to beef up community surveillance of cases in their border districts as well as strengthening their capacity to test cases and conduct surveillance in health facilities.

Earlier this month, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) authorities also reported a reappearance of the Ebola virus in the eastern part of the Central African country, more than two months after the end of the last outbreak.

Ebola, a tropical fever that first appeared in 1976 in Sudan and the DRC, is transmitted to humans from wild animals.

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