Ebola: WHO alerts six African countries

THE World Health Organization has alerted six countries to watch out for potential Ebola cases after fresh outbreaks in Guinea and Democratic Republic of Congo, a spokeswoman said yesterday.

Guinea declared a new Ebola outbreak on Sunday in the first resurgence of the disease there since the 2013-2016 outbreak, while the Democratic Republic of Congo reported a resurgence of the virus on February.

Guinea has recorded up to 10 suspected cases of Ebola and five people have died since the start of a new outbreak of the deadly virus in the southeast of the West African nation, medical authorities said on Tuesday.

Guinea’s ministry of health said it has identified 115 contacts of the known cases in the city of Nzerekore in the country’s south east and 10 in the capital Conakry since the outbreak was confirmed on Sunday.

Unlike the deadliest known outbreak, which tore through West Africa from 2013-16, Guinean authorities have said they are better prepared to stop the spread of the virus.

The Ebola virus causes severe bleeding and organ failure and is spread through contact with body fluids.

The 2013-16 outbreak killed 11,300 people, mostly in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday warned the outbreaks in Guinea and Democratic Republic of Congo represented a regional risk.

Fearing a spread of the disease that could cripple their under-funded health systems which are also battling the coronavirus pandemic, neighbours Ivory Coast, Mali and Sierra Leone said on Monday that they have launched plans to stop any potential spread and reinforced border controls.

The second-deadliest known outbreak was declared over last year in Democratic Republic of Congo, but it recorded a resurgence of the disease on February 7.

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