Faced with a mix of confirmed and probable cases and deaths, the Republic of Guinea has declared its first resurgence of Ebola since 2016.
Two people have died in the DRC after confirmation of a new Ebola outbreak in the northeast.
The previous Ebola outbreak in the northeast, the country’s 10th and the second-largest in world history, claimed the lives of 2,287 of the 3,324 patients affected.
The DRC’s 11th outbreak, in Équateur Province, affected 13 of the province’s 18 health zones, with 130 confirmed cases and 55 deaths.
The DRC has been named the lead by the Africa Union in response efforts to the newest outbreak in Guinea.
Since August 21, 2018, screening and referral units (SRUs) supported by International Medical Corps have provided more than 2 million screenings for Ebola and 1.2 million screenings for COVID-19.
International Medical Corps is providing infection prevention and control (IPC) support to 196 health facilities in the DRC to ensure that healthcare delivery is safe, including 20 new facilities in Équateur, and is activating its response team in Guinea.
West and Central Africa are facing renewed outbreaks of Ebola virus disease (EVD) while facing ongoing pressures from the COVID-19 pandemic, which already has put a strain on national and international health resources.
International Medical Corps is responding in both areas of the continent with strong regional teams of technical experts to support those in need where it is needed most.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)
Nearly four months following the end of the DRC’s 11th outbreak in November 2020 in the western province of Équateur, a new outbreak of Ebola was confirmed in the northeastern province of North Kivu on February 7, when samples collected from a woman in her mid-forties were confirmed by the Ministry of Health (MOH) to be EVD. The patient passed away 72 hours later at a health facility in Katwa Health Zone, with symptoms of the virus. A test of the semen of her spouse, a known Ebola survivor, for EVD was reported to have returned negative just five months ago, yet such tests can sometimes show a false negative result. Preliminary results of genomic sequencing of the index case’s viral proteins suggest that this new outbreak—the 12th in the DRC—is linked to the first Ebola outbreak that occurred in this part of the country, which eventually grew to become the second-largest in history and required more than two years of concerted efforts to control. That outbreak claimed the lives of 2,287 of the 3,324 confirmed cases identified. The source of this reoccurrence (her spouse or some other source of infection) is still being investigated.
The index case, who came from Biena, sought care at a health facility in Katwa, where she passed away before the diagnosis could be made. In the course of her travels and during her stay at the hospital, several other people were exposed. Three confirmed cases have since surfaced (including a nurse who cared for one of the patients), two of whom have died. All but one of the confirmed cases—the nurse, who is still alive and responding well to treatment—had not received Ebola vaccine during the last outbreak.
The Republic of Guinea
On February 14, following seven cases (three confirmed and four probable, with one confirmed and four probable deaths) in the southeastern province of Nzérékoré, the government of Guinea declared an EVD outbreak. Initial results showed the presence of the virus in the town of Guéckédou—near where the initial case of the 2014 Ebola outbreak, in Meliandou, a rural village, was found.
This marks the first resurgence of the virus in the country since the devastating West Africa epidemic of 2014–2016. The government, under joint direction of the Ministry of Health (MoH) and the National Agency for Health Security (ANSS), reactivated its Ebola response technical committee, and deployed to start active containment efforts. Because Nzérékoré borders Sierra Leone and Liberia, the threat of cross-border outbreaks is high.