WHO steps up efforts to curb Ebola outbreak in Guinea and DRC

Written By: Prudence Wanza

The World Health Organization(WHO) has deployed health experts in Guinea and the Democratic Republic of Congo(DRC) in efforts to tackle the new Ebola outbreak in the two countries.

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The experts will support the national authorities in providing response to spread further spread of the disease.

“More than 100 WHO staff, deployed from other countries and from within Guinea, are expected to be part of the Ebola response by the end of February,” a statement by WHO indicates

Guinea’s health experts declared an Ebola outbreak on 14th February, 2020 after three positive cases were detected in Gouécké, a rural community in N’zerekore.

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According to WHO it is the first Ebola outbreak in Guinea since 2016 when a large one was successfully brought under control.

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“We are hard at work, shifting quickly through the gears to get ahead of the virus. With experts and emergency supplies already getting on the ground, the response is off to a strong start,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.

“Our collective, quick action is crucial to averting an uncontrolled spread of Ebola amid the COVID-19 pandemic which has already pushed health workers and health facilities to the edge.” He added

The WHO has also released medical equipment and a consignment of 20,000 doses of Ebola vaccine to Guinea after which a vaccination exercise will kick off.

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Meanwhile the Democratic Republic of Congo(DRC) has so far confirmed four Ebola cases and two deaths.

A wide spread of the disease did not occur in the DRC owing to the availability of 8,000 vaccine doses that were used at the end of the 11th Ebola outbreak. So far nearly 70 people have been vaccinated.

Additionally, WHO has released US$ 1.25 million to support the response in Guinea and to reinforce Ebola readiness in neighboring Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Senegal and Sierra Leone.

The United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund has also disbursed US$ 15 million to support the response in Guinea and DRC and readiness in the neighboring countries.

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The West Africa Ebola outbreak began in Guinea and spread across land borders to Liberia and Sierra Leone. When it was finally brought under control there were 28,000 cases and 11,000 deaths, making it the deadliest since the virus was first detected in 1976.

Ebola is an acute severe viral illness and is extremely lethal. It is characterized by sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache, nausea and sore throat. This can be followed by vomiting, diarrhoea, impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding.

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