Guinea declares Ebola epidemic after 7 confirmed cases and three deaths: All you need to know

National Health Security Agency head Sakoba Keita told local media on Saturday that one of the latest Ebola victims in Guinea was a nurse who fell in late January and was buried on 1 February. Keita also told local media that one patient had escapes but had been found and hospitalised in the capital Conkry.

FP Trending February 15, 2021 13:52:11 IST
Guinea declares Ebola epidemic after 7 confirmed cases and three deaths: All you need to know

File image. AFP

Guinea has declared an Ebola epidemic after three people died in the country's southeast. Four others too have reportedly become ill from the disease. The head of Guinea's health agency on Sunday told reporters that the country was in the midst of an Ebola "epidemic situation" with seven cases confirmed in the West African nation, including three deaths.

"Very early this morning, the Conakry laboratory confirmed the presence of the Ebola virus," Sakoba Keita said after an emergency meeting in the capital. Health Minister Remy Lamah had earlier spoken of four deaths. It was not immediately clear why the toll had been reduced.

The cases marked the first known resurgence of the virus in West Africa since a 2013-2016 epidemic that began in Guinea and left more than 11,300 dead across the region.

According to reports, seven people were ill with diarrhoea, vomiting and bleeding after attending a burial in Goueke, near the Liberian border. The country's health ministry, on Sunday stated that the infected patients have been isolated in treatment centres.

AFP reported that National Health Security Agency head Sakoba Keita told local media on Saturday that one of the latest victims in Guinea was a nurse who fell in late January and was buried on 1 February. Keita also told local media that one patient had escapes but had been found and hospitalised in the capital Conkry.

WHO African Region tweeted the announcement: "New #Ebola outbreak declared in #GuineaFlag of Guinea by health authorities today. 3 cases have been confirmed in the rural community of Gouéké in N’Zerekore prefecture. This is the first time the disease has been reported since the last outbreak ended in 2016."

In a separate tweet they added that WHO staff are already on the ground supporting surveillance, infection prevention and community engagement. According to the tweet, WHO is also supporting Guinea to procure the Ebola vaccine which has proven instrumental in controlling outbreaks in the DRC.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus tweeted that Guinea has many years of experience battling Ebola and the government is taking action. He added that WHO has activated all levels to coordinate support to Guinea, including access to Ebola vaccines and treatments.

Ebola virus jumps on to humans from infected animals like chimpanzees, fruit bats and forest antelope. One of the natural reservoir of the Ebola virus is bushmeat, which is non-domesticated forest animals hunted for consumption. The disease spreads between humans through direct contact with infected blood, bodily fluids or organs. It can also spread indirectly through contact with contaminated environment.

Following the announcement, Liberia's President George Weah has put the health authorities on heightened alert. As per the report, experts have said that containment is key to fighting the disease. The virus initially causes sudden fever, intense weakness, muscle pain and sore throat. Patients tend to die from dehydration and multiple organ failure.

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