On 14 February 2021, Guinea’s Health Minister officially declared an outbreak of Ebola in N’Zérékoré prefecture. Suspected cases were initially reported for people who had attended the burial of a nurse in Gouécké on 1 February (Government of Guinea 22/02/2021). As at 28 March, there had been a total of 14 confirmed cases, four probable cases, and nine deaths, and no new cases had been reported since 4 March (Government of Guinea 28/03/2021).
Dubréka, Ratoma, Coyah, Dixinn, and Matoto sub-prefectures were on alert after a confirmed case travelled to and was hospitalised in Conakry. There have been no new alerts, nor new contacts to follow in the Conakry area since 8 March (Government of Guinea 07/03/2021; Government of Guinea 08/03/2021; IOM 04/03/2021).
An analysis of the genome taken from samples from the latest outbreak showed that it is directly linked to cases from the 2014–2016 Ebola outbreak in West Africa, indicating that this outbreak’s first case was likely infected from a survivor from the previous outbreak (Virological 12/03/2021).
In contrast to the 2014–2016 Ebola outbreak, cases have been limited in number and have been contained within the sub-prefectures surrounding the first case. The country’s healthcare infrastructure and disease monitoring procedures have improved since 2014, especially in relation to issues surrounding Ebola (The Conversation 18/02/2021; Government of Guinea 22/02/2021; USAID 12/03/2021). The existing COVID-19 response also provided baseline epidemic control and hygiene measures prior to the 2021 Ebola outbreak, and the current Ebola response initially took advantage of COVID-19 coordination structures (IFRC 17/02/2021; UNICEF 15/02/2021). Resistance to the current response has been reported – despite a better understanding of the need for adequate communication of risks and mitigation measures – although not to the extent witnessed between 2014–2016.
This report is based on a secondary data review of publicly available information and on a series of ACAPS thematic reports published on the West African Ebola outbreak between 2014–2016. Its purpose is to present the needs that are expected to develop as a result of the current Ebola outbreak, analyse the factors that could increase the spread of the disease or hamper response operations, and draw on previous lessons learnt to highlight additional factors that should be taken into account during the response.