By Lerato Ndlovu
World Health Orgaisation (WHO) confirms the rise of Ebola Virus Disease in West Africa after four years of being silent after attacking one of the three most affected countries from 2014 – 2016.
Health authorities in Guinea informed WHO of Ebola in the rural community of Gouéké in Nerekore region prefecture after three Ebola cases were confirmed by the national laboratory, marking the first time the disease has been reported in the country since an outbreak ended in 2016.
To date five people have died and two in isolation. The symptoms were diarrhea, vomiting, bleeding, headache, physical weakness, nausea, loss of appetite, abdominal pains and fever.
Dr Matshidiso Moeti, the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for Africa said WHO is supporting the authorities to set up testing, contact-tracing and treatment structures and to bring the overall response to full speed for it is worrisome for the disease to resurface.
“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 Dr Matshidiso Moeti,
“WHO is supporting the authorities to set up testing, contact-tracing and treatment structures and to bring the overall response to full speed.”
He went on to say that WHO is on the ground supporting the country in procuring the Ebola vaccine which aided in controlling the outbreak in DRC.
“DRC was recently affected by the disease and Guinea health workers played a key role in supporting with ventilators and training their health workers on the disease.
“WHO staff are now on the ground helping with ramping up infection prevention and control of health facilities and other key locations and reaching out to communities to ensure they take a key role in the response and supporting the country to procure the Ebola vaccine which has proven instrumental in controlling outbreaks in the DRC. Samples of the confirmed cases have been sent to the InstitutPasteur in Senegal for a full genome sequencing to identify the strain of the Ebola virus.
WHO 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 for cases and conduct surveillance in health facilities, while reaching out to Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, Senegal and other countries at risk in the sub-region.