After the West African country of Guinea reported its first confirmed Ebola deaths since 2016, prompting the declaration of an "epidemic situation," the World Health Organization (WHO) has alerted six countries to watch out for further spread of the disease, according to Reuters.
The news comes as Guinea declared a new Ebola outbreak on Sunday in the first resurgence of Ebola in West Africa since the 2013-2016 outbreak, while the Democratic Republic of Congo reported its first resurgence on Feb. 7. Liberia was also mentioned as among the countries that received an "alert".
"We have already alerted the six countries around, including of course Sierra Leone and Liberia, and they are moving very fast to prepare and be ready and to look for any potential infection," the WHO's Margaret Harris told a Geneva briefing. -Reuters
The other countries that received a warning weren't named.
According to the WHO's Harris, health authorities had identified close to 300 Ebola contacts in the Congo outbreak and around 109 in Guinea, as doctors and nurses race to prevent the spread of disease.
Gene sequencing of Ebola samples from both Congo and Guinea is allowing scientists to learn more about the origins of the new outbreaks and identify the strains that are spreading, Harris added.
"We don’t know if this is down to Ebola persisting in the human population or if it’s simply moving again from the animal population but the genetic sequencing that’s ongoing will help with that information," she said.
Given current global pandemic awareness combined with the fact that Ebola victims are easy to identify by the rapid onset of vomiting and, later, bleeding from orifices (as opposed to the significantly less deadly COVID's asymptomatic spread), we are hopeful that these latest African outbreaks can be quickly contained.