Guinea Declares Ebola Outbreak : NPR

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In a photo of Guinea’s previous Ebola outbreak, medical workers clean their protective suits in Conakry, Guinea in March 2015. The Guinean authorities declared a new Ebola outbreak on Sunday. Cellou Binani / AFP via Getty Images Hide caption

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Cellou Binani / AFP via Getty Images

In a photo of Guinea’s previous Ebola outbreak, medical workers clean their protective suits in Conakry, Guinea in March 2015. The Guinean authorities declared a new Ebola outbreak on Sunday.

Cellou Binani / AFP via Getty Images

Five years after it was declared Ebola-free, Guinea officials declared an outbreak on Sunday after at least three people had died from the Ebola virus in recent weeks. It was confirmed that four other people were infected.

Health officials have attributed this latest outbreak to a funeral in early February for a nurse from a rural health facility. Six people who attended the funeral reported Ebola-like symptoms; two died later. The other four were hospitalized.

In a statement posted on Facebook, the Guinean health minister said officials plan to isolate all suspected cases, start contact tracing, and work to get doses of the Ebola vaccine from the World Health Organization.

“The government assures people that all measures are being taken to contain this epidemic as soon as possible,” said Rémy Lamah, calling on Guinean citizens to report any Ebola symptoms to officials.

WHO employees are already on site and help set up testing and treatment facilities, according to the organization. With the epicenter of the outbreak in a rural community near the border, WHO is also working with health authorities in neighboring Liberia and Sierra Leone to look for evidence of cases there.

WHO officials are optimistic that Guinean health workers have developed expertise in fighting the disease – not only since their country’s last outbreak, but also because they helped control a similar outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Why is Guinea's Ebola outbreak so unusual?

Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia were the main countries affected by the world’s worst Ebola outbreak from 2014 to 2016. After an 18-month-old man was likely infected by bats in December 2013, the virus spread across Guinea and neighboring countries. Ultimately, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 28,000 people were infected, of whom over 11,000 died.

The news of the outbreak comes just days after reports of two Ebola deaths in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in which more than 2,200 people died in a separate Ebola outbreak between 2018 and 2020.