CONAKRY, 5 March 2021 – The Ebola outbreak in Guinea is at a “very high risk” of spreading to neighboring west African countries, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned Friday.
Eighteen cases of Ebola were reprted as of Thursday, 14 of them confirmed, including four deaths so far in Guinea.
“This gives a case fatality rate of 44.4 percent,” said Dr. Georges Alfred Ki-Zerbo, the WHO representative in Guinea.
The biggest concern WHO experts have is knowing that neighboring countries do not have vaccination programs in place.
The concerns include the focus on COVID-19, which could lead to Ebola cases being missed.
More than 1,600 people have been vaccinated against the Ebola virus in Guinea, according to the WHO.
The Ebola outbreak was first reported three weeks ago in Nzerekore in southern Guinea.
During the worst Ebola outbreak in 2014 Ebola, more than 11,000 people were killed as the virus spread, at the time, from Sierra Leone into neighboring Guinea and Liberia.
The Ebola virus was first discovered in 1976 near the Ebola River in the then Zaire (today the Democratic Republic of Congo). The virus has infected people from time to time in many African countries.
Scientists do not know where Ebola virus comes from but believe that it is animal-borne, with bats or nonhuman primates (chimpanzees, apes, monkeys, etc.) being the most likely source.
Infected animals carrying the virus can transmit it to other animals, like apes, monkeys, duikers and humans, according to the Center for Disease Control.