Guinea-Conakry has officially declared this Sunday, with at least seven contagions and three confirmed deaths, its first Ebola outbreak since the great epidemic unleashed between 2014 and 2016 in West Africa, which originated in the same country and left about 11,300 dead.
The resurgence of the virus has been detected in the area of Gouécké, in the southeast of the Guinean territory, close to the town of N’Zérékoré, one of the most populated cities in the country.
“The first investigation carried out has counted seven cases, all over 25 years of age (four men and three women), including three deaths (…) The first three samples sent to the laboratories of Guéckédou and Conakri were found to be positive for Ebola,” the governmental National Health Security Agency (ANSS) said in a statement on Sunday.
Consequently, the Guinean Ministry of Health has officially declared the existence of an Ebola epidemic in the southeastern part of the country, although the detection of probable contagions had already been advanced this Saturday by the Guinean Minister of Health, Rémy Lamah, on the basis of initial tests that were awaiting reconfirmation in laboratories in Conakri.
The people so far affected showed the characteristic symptoms of the disease (diarrhea, vomiting and bleeding) after attending, on February 1, the funeral of a nurse who may also have died of Ebola at the end of January.
With these preliminary data, the World Health Organization (WHO) has already this morning expressed its concern about the possible resurgence of Ebola in this hard-hit area of the African continent.
“Very concerned about reports of four suspected Ebola deaths in Guinea (including the nurse). WHO is accelerating preparedness and response efforts to possible resurgence of Ebola in West Africa, a region that suffered greatly from Ebola in 2014,” the World Health Organization’s director for Africa, Matshidiso Moeti, had said Monday via her Twitter account.
With the official declaration of the new epidemic, the Guinean authorities also announced control measures to try to prevent the virus from causing a health catastrophe like the one in the middle of the last decade.
These include protocols for tracing and isolation of possible infections and an “acceleration” of the country’s efforts, together with the World Health Organization (WHO), in the field of vaccination.