The Ebola outbreak that emerged in Guinea in mid-February has been declared over, the health ministry and the World Health Organization said on Saturday. This is after having passed the mandatory period with no new confirmed or probable cases.
UNICEF states that 42 days have passed since the last person in Guinea confirmed to have Ebola virus disease tested negative for the second time, and the country now enters 90 days of heightened surveillance to ensure that any new cases are identified quickly before they can spread to others.
Guinean health authorities declared the outbreak on 14 February 2021 after three cases were detected in Gouecke, a rural community in the southern N’zerekore prefecture, the same region where the 2014–2016 outbreak first emerged before spreading into neighbouring Liberia and Sierra Leone and beyond.
A total of 16 confirmed and seven probable cases were reported in Guinea’s latest outbreak in which 11 patients survived and 12 lives lost.
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General said, “I commend the affected communities, the government and people of Guinea, health workers, partners and everyone else whose dedicated efforts made it possible to contain this Ebola outbreak.”
“Based on the lessons learned from the 2014–16 outbreak and through rapid, coordinated response efforts, community engagement, effective public health measures and the equitable use of vaccines, Guinea managed to control the outbreak and prevent its spread beyond its borders. Our work in Guinea continues, including supporting survivors to access post-illness care.” He added.
This was the first time the disease resurfaced in the country since the deadly outbreak in West Africa that ended in 2016.
WHO Regional Director for Africa Dr. Matshidiso Moeti also said that, “We are getting faster, better and smarter at fighting Ebola. But while this outbreak is over, we must stay alert for a possible resurgence and ensure the expertise in Ebola expands to other health threats such as COVID-19.”
An Ebola epidemic hit West Africa between 2013 and 2016, officially causing more than 11,300 deaths in three countries (Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone), including more than 2,500 in Guinea.