When Guinea ended the Ebola epidemic that spread across West Africa between 2014 and 2016 (the largest since the virus was discovered in 1976), the disease had left 11,300 dead among 28,000 cases in its territory. , after crossing borders and invading Liberia and Sierra Leone. For this reason, the news that seven cases of the disease had been confirmed in the rural community of Gouéké, in the south of the country, ignited the alert in the world medical community.
“It is a great concern to see the resurgence of Ebola in Guinea, a country that has already suffered a lot from the disease. However, based on the expertise and experience accumulated during the previous outbreak, health teams in the country are moving to quickly track the path of the virus and reduce other infections, ”said the regional director of the World Health Organization (WHO) for Africa, doctor Matshidiso Moeti, announcing the outbreak of the disease.
According to the country’s health authorities, an initial investigation points to the source of the outbreak as a nurse at the local health unit, who died on January 28. Six people who attended the burial tested positive for the disease: two died, while the other four remain hospitalized.
Samples of confirmed cases were sent to a laboratory at the Pasteur Institute in Senegal, to identify, through genome sequencing, the Ebola strain responsible for the outbreak (there are five variants: Bundibugyo, Côte d’Ivoire, Sudan, Reston – which infects but does not generate symptoms – and Zaire, names given from the places of origin).
According to the WHO representative in Guinea, Alfred George Ki-Zerbo, “we will quickly make crucial resources available to help Guinea, which already has considerable experience in treating the disease. The response will now be stronger and we will take advantage of this to contain the situation as soon as possible ”.
The arsenal available includes a vaccine that has a global emergency stock of 500,000 doses, held by the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, or GAVI Alliance).
But they will be few if the disease spreads: Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone have a combined population of 22.5 million, and the Ebola outbreak occurs when laboratories are busy producing vaccines against the covid-19 pandemic.