At least three people have died and four others have been infected with Ebola, leading officials to declare an epidemic in Guinea, the Associated Press reported Monday.
The outbreak started around the southern town of N’Zerekore where people started experiencing diarrhea, vomiting and bleeding after burying a nurse in February, the AP reported. Two women and one man have died of the seven found to be infected, all of whom were over 25 years old.
“The government reassures the population that all measures are being taken to stem this epidemic as quickly as possible. It invites the populations of the affected areas to respect hygiene and prevention measures and to report to health authorities in the presence of suggestive signs,” Guinea’s Minister of Health Remy Lamah said, the AP reported.
An Ebola outbreak was declared today in Guinea.
This is in addition to the Ebola outbreak declared in DR Congo earlier this week.
And of course a year of the COVID19 pandemic.
We don’t need any more evidence that pandemic preparedness must be prioritized and properly funded.
— Craig Spencer MD MPH (@Craig_A_Spencer) February 14, 2021
A treatment center has opened and supplies were sent to the area, according to the AP. All suspected cases have been isolated from the general public to prevent the spread. (RELATED: World Health Organization Warns Of Potential Ebola Spread After Woman’s Death In Central Africa)
Ebola typically spreads through direct contact with bodily fluids, according to the AP. Traditional funerals in the region include the washing and touching of the deceased, contributing to the spread of the disease.
Emergency response systems and increased surveillance have been activated in the bordering countries of Liberia and Sierra Leone, the AP reported. Liberian President George Weah told health officials to “immediately engage communities in towns and villages bordering Guinea and increase anti-Ebola measures.”
The Ebola outbreak that killed 11,300 from 2014 to 2016 started in Guinea, according to the AP. The World Health Organization is readying vaccines developed during the previous outbreak for distribution.
“Time is of the essence. The resurgence of the virus in Guinea comes at the worst possible time when the country is already facing the COVID-19 pandemic,” International Federation of Red Cross (IFRC) and Red Crescent Societies’ Regional Director for Africa Mohammed Mukhier said, the AP reported.
Over 2,500 volunteers from the IFRC and Guinea Red Cross will aid with contact tracing and other support in the region, according to the AP. Doctors Without Borders is also responding by sending volunteers to the area.
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