CONAKRY: Health officials in Guinea on Sunday confirmed that at least three people have died of Ebola, the first cases explained since it was one of three West African countries to fight the world's deadliest Ebola epidemic that ended five years ago.
Another five people have tested positive for Ebola in Gueckedou town country& # 39; s south, according to Dr. Sakoba Keita, the head of Guinea & # 39; s National Health Security Agency.
“ I confirm it's Ebola. The results prove it, & # 39; & # 39; Health Minister Remy Lamah told The Associated Press by phone.
The patients were tested for Ebola after showing symptoms of hemorrhagic fever, and those who came into contact with the sick are already in isolation, officials said.
Guinea's announcement comes a week after the east Congo confirmed it had also fallen. The cases are not linked to each other.
Health experts in Guinea say these latest cases could be a major setback for the impoverished country, which is already fighting COVID-19 and is still recovering from the previous Ebola outbreak that killed 2,500 people in Guinea, where it started. More than 11,300 people died in that outbreak that also affected neighboring countries Liberia and Sierra Leone between 2014 and 2016.
“ The resurgence of Ebola is very worrying for what it could do for people, the economy and health infrastructure, '' said Dr. Krutika Kuppalli, assistant professor of medicine for infectious diseases at the Medical University of South Carolina, who was the medical director of an Ebola treatment unit in Sierra Leone during the previous outbreak.
“ We still understand the impact of the (latest) outbreak on the population & # 39; & # 39; '' she said.
To stop the spread, the government and international health organizations must respond quickly and educate communities about what's going on, Kuppalli said.
One of the reasons the previous outbreak was so deadly was because the virus was not detected quickly and local authorities and the international community were slow to act when cases first emerged in a rural part of Guinea.
The epidemic's initial patient, an 18-month-old boy from a small village, was believed to be infected with bats, but after the case was reported in December 2013, it took weeks, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. before a medical alert was issued and by then the virus had already spread and took years to end.
The new cases announced on Sunday are in the Nzerekore region, the same place where the previous one started.
After hearing the news, locals in the capital said they feared the country would be unable to cope with another outbreak.
The news of the Ebola outbreak in Guinea is alarming. We already have problems dealing with the coronavirus, now the health system will be overwhelmed by two pandemics, & # 39; & # 39; says Mamadou Kone, a resident of Conakry.
“ I don't know what this curse hits the Guineans, all the pandemics fall on us & # 39; & # 39; '' said Mariam Konate, a nurse. “ It's as if the country has been struck by a curse '', she said.
The origin of the infections is still unknown.
Health experts hope the availability of an Ebola vaccine will help get this outbreak under control quickly. Ebola is transmitted through direct contact with bodily fluids from someone showing Ebola symptoms or from corpses that were positive.
Last month, the World Health Organization said it is creating a global emergency supply of about 500,000 doses of the Ebola vaccine to eradicate future outbreaks, but only 7,000 were available at the time of the statement. The Ebola vaccine being stored is made by Merck.
“ There are tools and systems that can be quickly deployed to address these cases. The key will be speed, and making sure the right people and materials are where they need to be, & # 39; & # 39; said Donald Brooks, CEO of Initiative: Eau, a US water and sanitation aid group that has worked on setting up public health emergencies. reaction systems in West Africa
If it doesn't and it spreads to urban centers, it could lead to a catastrophic loss of life, & # 39; & # 39 ;, he warned.
. (tagsToTranslate) West Africa (t) Sierra Leone (t) Liberia (t) Health officials (t) Guinea (t) country (t) Congo