Friday, 16 Apr 2021

Ebola warning: WHO increases risk level to ‘very high’ – world on alert

Ebola: Guinea Health Agency head declares a 'pandemic'

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The WHO Africa Region department today tweeted: “So far there have been 18 cases, 9 deaths, 523 contacts, 82 percent monitored and 1604 people vaccinated.” An outbreak has also been recorded in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The WHO has warned countries neighbouring Guinea were not prepared for outbreaks or for future vaccination campaigns.

However, at present the worst-hit country of the latest outbreak is Guinea.

It is the first outbreak of the deadly virus there since a 2013-2016 outbreak, which was considered the world’s worst.

The 2013-2016 outbreak spread throughout several West African countries.

The deadly pathogen killed thousands of people during its last outbreak and the WHO is worried about the latest resurgence, especially amid the coronavirus crises.

The WHO’s Regional Emergency Director Abdou Salam Gueye said: “There are six neighbouring countries to Guinea and we conducted an assessment of readiness.

“Two of the countries are not ready and one is borderline and there are three countries more or less ready.”

The countries that border Guinea are currently not prepared to roll-out mass Ebola vaccination programmes.

Mr Gueye added: “Those neighbouring countries agreed on cross-border cooperation and coordination to control the outbreak.”

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Ebola vaccinations are difficult to transport, especially in tropical regions.

They need to be stored in ultra-cold storage which presents logistical challenges.

The WHO’s Doctor Michel Yao, Director of Strategic Health Operations said: “We are dealing with quite fragile health systems including lack of capacity to address many public health challenges so dealing with both COVID and Ebola remains a challenge.”

Guinea’s ministry of health and public hygiene has been quick to set up vaccination sites across the country.

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The country has the current capacity to inoculate 100 people per day.

This will be the first time an Ebola vaccine has been distributed in the country.

Currently, 1604 people had been vaccinated in Guinea.

Bachir Kanté, an official at the health ministry, said: “In the coming days, we will be able to vaccinate more people in order to contain this pandemic properly.”

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