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Temperature check: Health officials in the West African region are on high alert Temperature check: Health officials in the West African region are on high alert  (AFP or licensors)

Ebola: Outbreak can be contained.

Guinea tracks potential Ebola contacts, says it can overcome new outbreak

Vatican News

A Reuters report says Guinea is tracking down people who potentially had contact with Ebola patients and that vaccines were being rushed to the affected area. At least three deaths from the disease have occurred, Health Minister Remy Lamah said on Monday.

Health system better prepared to handle emergency

Lamah said that unlike during the deadliest known outbreak, which tore through West Africa in 2013-2016, Guinea now had the means to halt the resurgence of the virus.

The Ebola virus causes severe bleeding and organ failure and is spread through contact with body fluids.

"In 2013, it took us months to understand that we were dealing with an Ebola epidemic, while this time, in less than four days, we were able to do analysis and have the results. Our medical teams are trained and seasoned. We have the means to quickly overcome this disease," Lamah told Reuters.

A risk to the whole region

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday warned the outbreaks in Guinea and Congo represented a regional risk.

The WHO representative in Guinea, Georges Ki-Zerbo, said he has requested authorisation to obtain as many vaccines doses as possible.

He added that there were some constraints in getting the vaccines to Guinea quickly, but authorities were working on the issues so that the vaccines could be available by next week for a targeted vaccination campaign.

Lessons from the 2013 outbreak have been learned

International organisations including the International Committee of the Red Cross, Medecins Sans Frontieres and medical charity ALIMA said they were sending rapid response teams to the region to assist.

The 2013-2016 outbreak killed 11,300 people, mostly in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. The second-deadliest known outbreak was declared over last year in Democratic Republic of Congo, but it also saw a resurgence this month.

Ebola vaccinations also in DRC

An Ebola vaccination campaign started in eastern Congo on Monday.

"There is hope that with new tools and the experience and lessons learned, this could maybe work better this time," said Ki-Zerbo, underlining the need to involve local communities and listen to them.

16 February 2021, 12:03