By Julius T. Jaesen, II
Health authorities in the West African nation of Guinea have declared a new outbreak of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease. Speaking yesterday, February 14, 202, health authorities confirmed that the outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease started in a rural community of Gouéké in N’Zerekore prefecture, when a nurse from a local health centre was reported dead on 28th January 2021. Immediately after her burial, six persons who attended her funeral reportedly showed symptoms of the virus, and two out of the six persons had since died while the other four have been hospitalized.
Guinea was one of the three most-affected countries in the 2014-2016 West Africa Ebola outbreaks which were the largest since the virus was first discovered in 1976. The disease caused global alarm in 2014 when the world’s worst outbreak began in West Africa, killing more than 11,300 people and infecting an estimated 28,600 people as it swept through Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
“It’s a huge concern to see the resurgence of Ebola in Guinea, a country which has already suffered so much from the disease. However, banking on the expertise and experience built during the previous outbreak, health teams in Guinea are on the move to quickly trace the path of the virus and curb further infections,” said Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.
“The WHO is supporting the authorities to set up testing, contact-tracing and treatment structures and to bring the overall response to full speed,” she added.
The WHO said it is already working with health authorities in Liberia and Sierra Leone to beef up community surveillance of cases in their border districts as well as strengthening their capacity to test cases and conduct surveillance in health facilities.
This new outbreak in the West African nation of Guinea is coming at a time when the world is experiencing a pandemic that is ravaging several bigger countries and brining down giant economies on their bended knees. Already, Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone have very weak surveillance systems and poor public health infrastructures, coupled with coronavirus that is already threatening lives; this may just contribute to a rapid spread of the virus and massive deaths since the dawn of Ebola in 2014.
As the troubling news of the resurfacing of the Ebola Virus Disease in neighbouring country Guinea, Liberians are now living in wanton fear that it is most likely possible that the virus will enter Liberia. It can be recalled on 30th March 2014, Liberia confirmed its first two cases of Ebola virus disease in Foya, Lofa County.
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