WHO cautions six African countries after Ebola outbreaks
CONAKRY (GUINEA) – The World Health Organization has asked six African countries to stay alert for possible Ebola infections, as Guinea on Tuesday confirmed new cases. Democratic Republic of Congo said its new infections were the return of a previous outbreak.
Health authorities have ensured to take speedy actions, as response to the cases in Guinea, to evade itself from a resurgence of the last outbreak in West Africa, killing more than 11,300 people, mostly in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia in the worst Ebola epidemic on record.
The WHO’s Margaret Harris told a Geneva briefing on Tuesday, “We have already alerted the six countries around, including of course Sierra Leone and Liberia, and they are moving very fast to prepare and be ready and to look for any potential infection.
Guinea has so far recorded up to 10 suspected cases of Ebola and five deaths. The health ministry said on Tuesday that since the announcement about the outbreak came on Sunday, it has identified 115 contacts of the known cases in the southeastern city of Nzerekore and 10 in the capital Conakry.
According to the WHO, gene sequencing of Ebola samples from both Congo and Guinea is being conducted to get more insights about the origins of the outbreaks and identify the strains.
“As for the infection, we’re not yet able to identify its origin,” said provincial health minister Eugene Nzanzu Salita, referring to how the first person to fall sick in this resurgence caught the virus.
The Ebola virus can lead to severe bleeding and organ failure and is spread through contact with body fluids. Its death rate is higher when compared to COVID-19, but unlike the coronavirus it is not transmitted by asymptomatic carriers.