After seven confirmed cases, including three deaths, the West African country Guinea has potentially entered the “epidemic situation”. Sakoba Keita, a top health official in Guinea said, “Very early this morning, the Conakry Laboratory confirmed the presence of the Ebola virus.”
Since the 2013-16 Ebola epidemic, this case surge is the first incidence of the resurgence of viral infection that had taken the lives of over 11,300 people across the region. The virus had first emerged in Zaire, now known as the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in 1976.
The first death was recorded in January end in Gouecke in south-east Guinea near Liberian border, said Mr. Kieta, the head of National Agency for Health Security. After victims burial on February 1, many people who attended the funeral developed symptoms of diarrhoea, vomiting, fever and bleeding a few days later.
The samples were sent to a laboratory for testing that showed positive for Ebola on Friday. Testing was done in EU funded laboratory set up in Gueckedou. Keita has thus confirmed that with total 7 cases and 3 deaths, Guinea is in an “Ebola epidemic situation”.
World Health Organization (WHO) is soon going to send support to tackle the rapidly emerging Ebola situation. WHO’s representative in the region, Alfred George Ki-Zerbo said in a press briefing, “We are going to rapidly deploy crucial assets to help Guinea, which already has considerable experience [treating the disease]. The arsenal is stronger now and we will take advantage of that to contain this situation as fast as possible.”
He added, “The WHO is on full alert and is in contact with the manufacturer [of a vaccine] to ensure the necessary doses are made available as quickly as possible to help fight back.”
In view of the rapidly escalating situation, neighboring country Liberia’s president George Weah has put the country’s health authorities on alert from Sunday. His office said that Weah has “has mandated the Liberian health authorities and related stakeholders in the sector to heighten the country’s surveillance and preventative activities.” However, no Ebola cases have been detected in Liberia.
DRC, on the other hand, has had various incidents of virus resurgence three months after WHO declared the end of last year’s outbreak of six months. The end was declared in November. This was DRC’s sixth Ebola outbreak that claimed the lives of 55 out of 130 cases.