Health in Africa

Guinea declares Ebola outbreak after 3 deaths

Four more infected; the epidemic first began in 2013 in Guinea and left more than 11,300 dead across the region

By DTE Staff
Published: Monday 15 February 2021
The epidemic first began in 2013 in Guinea and left more than 11,300 dead across the region. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Guinea has declared an Ebola outbreak after three persons died in the country’s southeast. Four others have been reportedly infected, taking the total tally to seven. This is the first time the disease has been reported in the country since an outbreak ended in 2016.

The first epidemic began in 2013 in Guinea and left more than 11,300 dead across the region. It caused major loss of life and socio-economic disruption in the region, mainly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

The first such casualty — a nurse from the local health facility — died on January 28, 2021, initial investigation has found. Following her burial, six people who attended the funeral reported Ebola-like symptoms; two of them died while the other four have been hospitalised.

 Matshidiso Moeti, World Health Organization (WHO) regional director for Africa, said:

“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.”

He added that WHO was supporting the authorities set up testing, contact-tracing and treatment structures and to bring the overall response to full speed.

Guinean health workers played a key role in supporting the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) with its recent outbreaks, with teams of vaccinators helping to train health workers in the DRC.

The health workers on the ground, in addition to surveillance, will help with ramping up infection prevention and control of health facilities and other key locations and reaching out to communities to ensure they take a key role in the response, the WHO said.

Samples of the confirmed cases have been sent to the InstitutPasteur in Senegal for a full genome sequencing to identify the strain of the Ebola virus.

The WHO is 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 for cases and conduct surveillance in health facilities.

During the West Africa Ebola outbreak there were 28,000 cases, including 11, 000 deaths. The outbreak started in Guinea and then moved across land borders to Sierra Leone and Liberia.

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