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Three Dead and Two Diagnosed with Ebola in Guinea

MAR 21, 2016 | SARAH ANWAR
After three unexplained deaths in Koropora, a village near Nzérékoré, the second most populated city in Guinea, two more individuals were diagnosed with Ebola, on Friday March 18, 2016.

Ebola Investigation
On Wednesday, March 16, 2016, local Guinea health officials alerted the World Health Organization (WHO) of recent deaths and noted that more individuals of the same family were showing symptoms of Ebola infection. The West African country’s Ministry of Health, along with investigators from the CDC, WHO, and the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) were sent to Koropara to assess the cases. Laboratory testing confirmed that a mother and her five-year-old son had Ebola; they have been moved to a treatment facility.

WHO Takes Initiative
In response to the Ebola cases, WHO deployed a team of epidemiologists, surveillance experts, vaccinators, social mobilizers, contact tracers, and an anthropologist to examine the situation and investigate the cause of the resurfacing of Ebola. These new cases come months after the country reported being Ebola-free on December 29, 2015. The response team hopes to test all those who came in contact with the family, as well as vaccinate and monitor them.

Ebola in West Africa
It has been more than 2 years since the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, particularly seen in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). WHO reports that since that time, 11,300 lives have been lost to Ebola in that region. WHO anticipates more cases in the coming months, and notes that the three aforementioned countries should maintain their prevention methods, as well as be closely monitored in order to detect Ebola infections in the early stages, to prevent another outbreak.

In a statement, WHO officials said that, “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.”

Symptoms of Ebola
According to the CDC, individuals infected with the Ebola virus usually present with the following symptoms between 2 and 21 days after infection:
  • Fever
  • Severe headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal (stomach) pain
  • Unexplained hemorrhage (bleeding or bruising)
Ebola Prevention
The CDC notes that the Ebola outbreaks of 2014 were not only the largest Ebola infections in history, but were also the first in West Africa. Although there is no FDA vaccine currently available for Ebola, researchers from the Liberian Institute for Biomedical Research in Monrovia have moved forward with two experimental Ebola vaccines.

The CDC recommends that Ebola patients should be isolated, restricting interaction between them and other patients. One should not engage in direct contact with Ebola patients or Ebola-infected corpses.

It is also recommend that those traveling to infected regions should practice proper hygiene and avoid any contact with blood or body fluids. In addition, one should not touch any objects or surfaces that may have been contaminated with the blood of an infected individual. 
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