Africa Under Ebola Scare? After Congo, Guinea Confirms First Deadly Outbreak Since 2016

The Guinean health minister said officials plan to isolate all suspected cases, start contact tracing and work on getting Ebola vaccine doses from the WHO.

West African Country Guinea officially declared on Sunday that it is dealing with an Ebola epidemic after at least three people died in recent weeks due to the deadly virus.

According to recent reports, four more people were confirmed to be infected as they developed symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting and bleeding after attending the burial of a nurse.

Guinea officials said that the newly developed Ebola vaccine—which helped reduce the number of cases in the Democratic Republic of the Congo—will be acquired through the World Health Organization (WHO) to control the outbreak at an initial stage. As per the data, from 2013 to 2016, over 11,000 people died in West Africa because of the Ebola outbreak that started in Guinea.

Ebola Outbreak
Guinea Faces First Ebola Outbreak In Years WHO/Junior D. Kannah

The New Ebola Threat

In a Facebook post, the Guinean minister of health, Rémy Lamah, said that the officials plan to isolate all the suspected cases, start contact tracing and the country is looking forward to getting the vaccine against the viral disease from the WHO.

"The government reassures the people that all measures are being taken to stem this epidemic as soon as possible," he added.

The WHO said in a statement that the officials from the UN agency are already on the ground. The staff members are now helping to set up testing and treatment facilities. The epicenter of the recent outbreak is a rural community near the border. The WHO is working closely with healthcare workers in neighboring Liberia and Sierra Leone to look for any evidence of Ebola cases in those areas.

However, the UN agency said that they are optimistic, as the health workers have developed expertise in fighting the disease—they controlled the last outbreak and also helped to curb the spread of the virus in Congo last year.

Along with Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia were the three countries most affected in the world's worst recorded Ebola outbreak between 2014 and 2016. All that started in 2013 December, when an 18-month-old was likely infected by the virus, which is believed to reside in bats. Later, the disease spread throughout Guinea and neighboring countries. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 28,000 people were infected.

The announcement of the new outbreak in Guinea comes a few days after Congo confirmed the emergence of a new Ebola outbreak in the city of Butembo. On February 3, the country's Health Minister Eteni Longondo said that a woman died in the city of North Kivu province after contracting the deadly virus.