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Guinea declares Ebola epidemic as the country records first deaths since 2016

For the first time since the 2013-2016 epidemic, three deaths related to the Ebola virus have been recorded in Guinea.

According to the UN Health Agency, the cases occurred in Gouéké in N’Zerekore prefecture of Southern Guinea. Initial investigations found that a nurse from a local health facility died on January 28.

Following her burial, six people who attended the funeral reported Ebola symptoms and two of them later died, with the remaining four currently in hospital.

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Photo: BBC

“The Conakry laboratory [has] confirmed the presence of the Ebola virus,” Guinea Health Chief Sakoba Keita said after an emergency meeting in the capital. Scientists will also work to determine the outbreak’s origin, which “could be a previously cured patient whose disease relapsed or transmission by wild animals, in particular, bats.”

The World Health Organisation already have staff on the ground, with WHO representative Alfred George Ki-Zerbo informing press that: “We are going to rapidly deploy crucial assets to help Guinea.”

“The WHO is on full alert and is in contact with the manufacturer [of a vaccine] to ensure the necessary doses are made available as quickly as possible to help fight back,” he said.

Neighbouring Liberia’s President George Weah has put health authorities on heightened alert. His office said “surveillance and preventative activities” would be increased, though no cases of Ebola have been detected in Liberia at the time of writing.

In addition to their recent relapse in the Ebola epidemic, Guinea, a country of around 12 million, has so far recorded 14,895 COVID-19 infections and 84 deaths.