Monrovia- The World Health Organization has warned six countries to be ready for Ebola cases after fresh outbreaks in Guinea and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The alert comes after the virus killed at least five people in Guinea and health officials raced to stop it from spreading further.
The first confirmed case of EVD was reported in Guinea on 14 February 2021, with the origins of the outbreak currently unknown, and probable cases dating back to at least January.
The known cases (seven as of 16 February 2021) are reportedly within the same family who attended the burial ceremony of a nurse from Gouécké health centre. The nurse died on 28 January 2021 and was buried on 1 February 2021.
Of the seven cases, four are men and three are women (aged 25 and over), with three deaths (2 women and 1 man). The known outbreak is currently centred in Gouécké community in the N’Zérékoré prefecture in Guinée Forrestière Region.
Liberia and Sierra have reported suspected cases, but Health Authorities in both Countries said the test results are Negative.
Meanwhile, WHO advises the following risk reduction measures as an effective way to reduce EVD transmission:
- Continue to train and retrain the health workforce for early detection, isolation and treatment of EVD cases as well as on safe and dignified burials and IPC measures;
- Prepare for vaccination of health workers and implement ring vaccination around confirmed cases;
- Engage with communities in responding to the outbreak and to reinforce safe and dignified burial practices;
- Ensure availability of personal protective equipment and IPC supplies to manage ill patients and for decontamination in health care and community settings;
- Ensure availability of biomedical equipment, essential medicines and therapeutics to care for patients with EVD;
- Ensure implementation of a referral system: screening and triage at health centres with referral pathways to designated Ebola treatment centres;
- Conduct health facility assessments (“Scorecard”) of adherence to IPC measures
- Reduce the risk of wildlife-to-human transmission (through contact with fruit bats, monkeys and apes) through community education on how to: Handle wildlife with gloves and other appropriate protective clothing; cook animal products (blood and meat) thoroughly before consumption;
- Reduce the risk of human-to-human transmission from direct or close contact with people with EVD symptoms, particularly with their bodily fluids: Wear appropriate personal protective equipment when taking care of ill patients, and wash hands regularly including after any contact with patients or when coming into contact with body fluids.
- To reduce the risk of possible transmission from virus persistence in some body fluids of survivors, WHO recommends providing medical care, psychological support and biological testing (until two consecutive negative tests) through an EVD survivors care programme.
Based on the current risk assessment and prior evidence on Ebola outbreaks, WHO advises against any restriction of travel and trade to Guinea.