Guinea reports first Ebola cases since 2016, including three deaths

Three people have died of Ebola in southeastern Guinea, the state health agency said, in the first resurgence of the disease there since the world’s worst outbreak, between 2013-2016.

A further five patients have tested positive for the disease, and are being isolated in treatment centres, officials have confirmed.

The Democratic Republic of Congo has also confirmed four cases of Ebola, provincial health minister Eugene Nzanzu Salita said on Sunday.

Those in Guinea initially fell ill with diarrhoea, vomiting and bleeding after attending a burial in Goueke sub-prefecture.

The last major outbreak of Ebola in West Africa started in Guinea in 2013, with a resulting death count of over 11,000 spread throughout the continent. The vast majority of cases were in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Further tests are being carried out to confirm the latest Ebola diagnosis and health workers are working to trace and isolate the contacts of the cases, ANSS (the National Agency for Health Security, Agence Nationale de la Sécurité Sanitaire) said.

ANSS said officials from Guinea would contact the World Health Organization (WHO) and other international health agencies to acquire Ebola vaccines. The vaccines, approved by the US’ Food and Drugs Administration in 2019, have greatly improved survival rates in recent years.

“WHO is ramping up readiness & response efforts to this potential resurgence of #Ebola in West Africa, a region which suffered so much from Ebola in 2014,” the agency’s Regional Director for Africa Matshidiso Moeti said on Twitter.

The vaccines and improved treatments helped efforts to end the second-largest Ebola outbreak on record, which was declared over in the Democratic Republic of Congo in June 2020 after nearly two years and more than 2,200 deaths.

The Ebola virus causes severe vomiting and diarrhoea and is spread through contact with body fluids. It has a much higher death rate than Covid-19, but unlike coronavirus it is not transmitted by asymptomatic carriers, but rather through bodily fluids.

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