Health officials in Guinea are rushing to prevent another Ebola outbreak from hitting the nation at full force after new deaths linked to the virus emerged this month. At least four people have died from the disease, said the West African nation's Health Minister, Remy Lamah on Monday.
The country is now tracking those who were in contact with the Ebola patients, in an attempt to contain the spread of the virus.
Lamah explained that Guinea is much better prepared if such a serious outbreak were to hit the country again, as it had the tools to do so following Ebola's dangerous spread between 2013 and 2016, and which hit West Africa especially hard.
At the time, more than 28,000 people were infected, of which over 11,000 died in Guinea.
.@WHO has activated at all levels to coordinate our support to #Guinea, including on access to #Ebola vaccines and treatments. We are working with governments of surrounding countries to activate preparedness.— Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (@DrTedros) February 14, 2021
So far, the current outbreak in the country has caused four deaths, and four others are being treated in an isolation center, all of which are experiencing Ebola's effects, such as vomiting, diarrhea, and bleeding.
The main difference now compared with 2013's outbreak is that health officials know what to look out for. What took months back then to discover now only took officials four days to pinpoint. On top of that, vaccinations and treatments have been developed and deployed in recent years, which will greatly help any further Ebola outbreak.
"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, the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for Africa.
"WHO is supporting the authorities to set up testing, contact-tracing and treatment structures and to bring the overall response to full speed." The WHO already has staff on the ground to assist with surveillance, infection prevention, and control of health facilities to reach out to communities.
Neighboring countries are staying vigilant, as the cases in Guinea happened near its borders with Liberia and Sierra Leone, with the hope of containing the virus before it spreads further afield. The WHO is also reaching out to other west African countries that may be at risk in the region.