EDITORS NOTE: This story was written on Jan. Updated February to indicate identification of the Zaire subtype based on new information from a WHO briefing

Health officials in Guinea yesterday reported an Ebola outbreak in the southeast, marking the first recurrence of the virus in the country since the massive outbreak in West Africa from 2014-2016

Another disease was also confirmed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) battling a flare-up in North Kivu province, the epicenter of a two-year outbreak – the second largest in the world – that was declared over in June 2020

The World Health Organization (WHO) office in Guinea announced yesterday that the outbreak is taking place in a rural township of Goueke in N’Zerekore Prefecture, in the southeastern part of the country, the region where the earlier West Africa outbreak began also near the borders with Liberia and Sierra Leone, the other two countries hardest hit by the 2014-16 outbreak

The early examination found that a nurse from a local health facility found a Died on January 1st and after their funeral six people who attended the funeral developed Ebola-like symptoms. Two died and four were hospitalized. Guinea’s national laboratory has confirmed three of the cases

Burial rituals, some of which involve handling the body, are known to increase the spread of the virus

Matshidiso Moeti, MBBS, who heads the WHO Regional Office in Africa, said in a statement: “Seeing Ebola resurgence in Guinea, a country that has already suffered so badly from the disease, is a big problem However, health teams in Guinea, based on the knowledge and experience built during the previous outbreak, are on their way to quickly track the virus’ path and contain further infections “

WHO staff are in Guinea to help respond to the outbreak and to help get the Ebola vaccine into the country, the agency said efforts are underway to step up surveillance in border areas and others to notify vulnerable countries in the region

Michel Yao, PhD, Director of Strategic Health Operations, said at a WHO press conference today that the samples belong to the Zaire subtype that also triggered the earlier outbreak in West Africa, adding that samples are being sent to the Pasteur for full genome sequencing Institute in Senegal to determine if the virus was a new introduction or related to an earlier spread

West Africa’s previous outbreak, which started in Guinea and spread to Sierra Leone and Liberia, resulted in about 28000 cases, of which more than 11000 were fatal. Smaller outbreaks have occurred in Nigeria and Mali, with some secondary infections reported among health workers in the US and Spain

Elsewhere, according to Reuters, DRC officials have confirmed a fourth case in an outbreak in North Kivu that was announced about a week ago. No information was available about the patient

The first patient is a woman who died in Butembo, one of the major trouble spots in the 2018-20 outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This outbreak was the second largest in the world after the earlier Ebola outbreak in West Africa

The woman whose case appears to have sparked the new DRC event was married to an Ebola survivor and her samples will be genetically tested to determine if her disease is a reintroduction of the virus from an animal or a another source or if it is related to the previous outbreak

Survivors may harbor the virus in “immune-protected” areas of the body such as the testicles or eyes. Sporadic cases in the months following the Ebola outbreak have been attributed to exposure to body fluids of survivors

The WHO announced last week that it expects more cases to be reported due to multiple high-risk exposures in the first patient’s contacts, including an unsecured funeral

On Twitter, WHO announced today that an Ebola vaccination campaign had been launched in Butembo just a week after the virus recurred, health workers at the Matanda Health Center, where the first patient was treated, were the first to receive their dose

CIDRAP – Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy Office of the Vice President for Research, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN

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Ebola

World news – FI – Guinea reports fatal Ebola outbreak as vaccination begins in Democratic Republic of the Congo

Source: https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2021/02/guinea-reports-deadly-ebola-outbreak-vaccination-begins-drc