The Ebola virus is back in Guinea with two persons testing positive, announced its government Thursday a few hours after the World Health Organization declared nearby Sierra Leone’s outbreak was over.
According to government spokesman Fode Tass Sylla of Guinea’s National Coordination of the Fight Against Ebola, two out of four individuals tested turned out positive. They all hailed from the village of Korokpara, where three individuals from the same family died in the last couple of weeks because of symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea.
Sylla added that there are three more probable cases, with health officials currently taking measures to prevent the spread.
Guinea is believed to be the starting point of the worst-recorded Ebola outbreak in the world, killing around 2,500 by end of last year – a time when the WHO announced that the virus’ active transmission had already stopped. The WHO, however, warned on the same day that the virus could re-emerge any time and linger in body fluids, the eyes and central nervous system of survivors.
"Vaccines have been taken to the zone to avoid new infections. The area has been locked down,” says Damantang Albert Camara, another government spokesman, in a Reuters report.
The death toll since the disease broke out in 2013 has reached 11,300, mostly in Guinea and neighboring African nations Liberia and Sierra Leone.
While it remains unclear as to how the villagers contracted the virus, the area had earlier fought efforts to control Ebola during the first epidemic.
An emergency meeting between the Ministry of Health and other key experts was held Friday.
Guinea was declared Ebola-free on Dec. 29, followed by Liberia on Jan. 14.
WHO, which announced Thursday that Sierra Leone has had no new Ebola case for 42 days or twice the period of the virus’ incubation time, called for “strong surveillance and emergency response capacity,” as well as continued strict hygiene observance at home and in hospitals and the community.
Sierra Leone had its share of flare-ups, too. In November, it was first declared free of transmissions, and then in January tests confirmed a woman’s death from the virus. The declaration was made on the same week of WHO declaring the region free of new virus transmissions.
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