Ebola: What You Need to Know About the Guinea Flare-Up

Health authorities have warned of a new – but contained — Ebola flare-up in Guinea. Does this mean there is a chance of a wider outbreak?

Multiple news agencies report that two of the four people who were tested in Nzérékoré on Thursday have Ebola.

Those individuals live in a village called Korokpara where three others relatives died after displaying Ebola-like symptoms. The two confirmed cases of Ebola affect a mother and her child, and they are now receiving treatment.

Reports say that the Alliance for International Medical Action (ALIMA) specialist Ebola clinic in southern Guinea has reopened to treat the cases. Aid agencies, such as UNICEF, and Guinea’s Ministry of Health, have mobilized experts to begin isolating and monitoring all the people who were likely infected. 

“The heightened surveillance means mechanisms were in place and that we were vigilant and prepared to deal with the flare-up,” said Guy Yogo, UNICEF’s deputy representative in Guinea, explained. “The population is now aware of the disease and listening to the guidance it receives from the authorities.”

It’s important to emphasize that these new cases represent a contained incident.

Guinea was approaching the end of the 90-day window required for the country to be declared Ebola-free. That means that agencies were already applying heightened scrutiny to the region and were able to mobilize quickly to deal with this situation.

“WHO continues to stress that Sierra Leone, as well as Liberia and Guinea, are still at risk of Ebola flare-ups, largely due to virus persistence in some survivors, and must remain on high alert and ready to respond,” the World Health Organization said.

This latest cases in Guinea came just after neighboring Sierra Leone celebrated the official end of its most recent outbreak on March 17.

After 42 days — two incubation cycles of the virus — passed, the World Health Organization declared an end to the immediate threat of small outbreaks in Sierra Leone.

However, Ebola remains an ever-present danger.

Ebola is believed to have directly claimed 11,300 lives since December 2013. The virus may have killed thousands more by undercutting national health programs and lowering protection from other diseases due to lapsed vaccination programs and broken infrastructure.

The World Health Organization remains confident that the worst of the epidemic is now over. Health authorities have shifted their focus to maintaining vigilance to ensure no new outbreaks take hold. 

The World Health Organization specifically designates small incidents as “flare-ups.” The key component distinguishing flare-ups from epidemics is the transmission pathway, or the chain of infections.

In this case, the transmission pathway appears to be closed. Ongoing investigation will determine the precise way in which the virus passed between family members, as well as its origin.

Due to the quick response by Guinea’s own health agencies and world aid groups, this event will not turn into a mass outbreak.

That being said, we simply don’t know how long this kind of reemergence could occur. Problems may appear further down the line as health agencies deal with the implications of long-term monitoring.

However, quick mobilization by health agencies and reactivation of regional Ebola hospitals, serves as a prime example of how Ebola-affected nations can prevent future outbreak events with effective critical responses.

In short, this “flare-up,” while concerning, does not represent a new mass Ebola outbreak.

Photo credit: Thinkstock.

27 comments

william Miller
william Miller11 months ago

thanks

SEND
Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallusabout a year ago

Thank you for sharing.

SEND
Marie W.
Marie W1 years ago

Pray it does not mutate.

SEND
Fi T.
Past Member 1 years ago

Knowing better to protect ourselves

SEND
Peggy B.
Peggy B1 years ago

It's contained and being monitered so the program is working.

SEND
Grace Adams
Grace Adams1 years ago

I guess keeping an eye out for Ebola is all they can do about it--that and treating and isolating any cases they find.

SEND
Sharon S.
Sharon S1 years ago

Thanks for the info

SEND
Maxine Stopfer
Maxine Stopfer1 years ago

A nasty disease that seems to crop up every time we think it has cleared up.

SEND
Anne Moran
Anne Moran1 years ago

Ebola isn't going anywhere by the sounds of it... - Just when you think it's over and done with,, it pops up somewhere else...

SEND
Pablo B.
.1 years ago

tyfs

SEND