A. THE DISASTER AND THE RED CROSS RED CRESCENT RESPONSE TO DATE
14 February 2021: The Government of Guinea declared a new outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in Gouécké sub-prefecture which is part of Nzérékoré prefecture in Guinée Forestière Region.
17 February 2021: 990,210 Swiss francs were allocated from IFRC’s Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to support the Red Cross Society of Guinea to scale up its response efforts in the affected area.
19 February 2021: IFRC issued a Multi-country EVD Emergency Appeal for 8.5 million Swiss francs to assist 424,000 people and reduce the risk of 7.52 million people in at-risk areas, including neighbouring countries.
01 April 2021: WHO announced one new EVD confirmed case (M22) in Guinea, who shortly after being tested ran away and was never found.
8 May 2021: WHO announced the beginning of the 42-day countdown for EVD. On the same day, the first case of Lassa Fever was notified at the Yomou prefecture, Nzérékoré region. No secondary cases were found.
17 June 2021: The second case of Lassa Fever was detected and confirmed at Nzérékoré Regional Hospital. No secondary cases were found.
19 June 2021: The Government of Guinea officially declared the end of the EVD outbreak within the country. Governmental authorities and humanitarian partners moved from a response modality to a preparedness modality of intervention, focused on surveillance.
6 August 2021: The Ministry of Health of Guinea informed WHO of a confirmed case of Marburg virus disease (MVD) in Guékédou prefecture, Nzérékoré region. This was the first known case of MVD in the country.
14 August 2021: The Ministry of Health of Cote d’Ivoire issued an alert of a confirmed EVD case in Abidjan. The person travelled from Labé, Fouta-Djalon region in Guinea. This was the first case of Ebola in the country since 1994. On 31st August the case was refuted following second laboratory tests.
15 August 2021: The IFRC started working with Guinea RC and neighbouring NSs on a Revised EA, including all Viral Hemorrhagic Fever outbreaks in the region (Ebola, Marburg and Lassa), initially reorienting resources to respond to the emergency and to readiness, preparedness and cross-border coordination.
With the declaration made by the Government of Guinea of the end of the EVD outbreak within the country on 19 June 2021 and no further Lassa fever cases confirmed, governmental authorities and humanitarian partners, including the Red Cross/ Red Crescent Movement moved from a response to a preparedness modality of intervention, focused on surveillance. The Guinea RC plan of action was modified to guarantee the NS presence in the field for the 90 days required for strengthened surveillance and beyond. However, following the first confirmed case of Marburg Virus Disease (MVD) in Guinea on 6 August and the alert launched by the Ministry of Health of Cote d’Ivoire of a confirmed EVD case within the country, later on, refuted following secondary tests, Guinea and neighbouring countries increased again readiness and preparedness, and especially cross-border coordination. This because:
the affected MVD village was in a remote forested area located near the border with Sierra Leone and Liberia. Cross-border population movement and community mixing between Guinea and neighbouring Sierra Leone and Liberia would have increased the risk of cross-border spread. Health authorities in Sierra Leone and Liberia activated contingency plans and started public health measures at the points of entry with Guinea. Additionally, the potential transmission of the virus between bat colonies and humans would have caused also an increased risk for cross-border spread. These factors suggested a high risk at the national level, requiring an immediate and coordinated response with support from international partners. The MVD case, the first known in Guinea and West Africa started having symptoms on 25 July and passed away on 2 August in the community in Guéckédou Prefecture, Nzérékoré Region, south-western Guinea. The source of infection remains unconfirmed. 148 close contacts, including health centre staff who treated the patient, were followed.
The alert of a confirmed EVD case in Cote d’Ivoire, later on, refuted, launched by the Ministry of Health of Cote d’Ivoire, was a person who travelled from Labé, Fouta-Djalon region in Guinea to Abidjan utilizing public transport and meeting several people along the journey. On 31 August, the government of Cote d’Ivoire informed WHO that a second laboratory test of samples, conducted at the French National Reference Center for Viral Haemorrhagic Fevers (Institut Pasteur and INSERM Jean Mérieux SL4 laboratory) in Lyon, had found no evidence of the virus. Further analysis on the cause of the illness of the alleged cases was conducted and contacts stopped being followed.
To respond to these new outbreaks, Guinea RC and neighbouring NSs reoriented resources already available within the EVD Emergency Appeal budget. While putting in place emergency measures, the IFRC supported NSs in revising the Emergency Appeal to scale-up preparedness, readiness and response to the Viral Haemorrhagic Fever Outbreaks (Ebola, Marburg and Lassa Fever) in Guinea, and to conduct advanced readiness and preparedness activities related to the spring 2021 Ebola Virus Outbreak in Guinea in of Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Senegal, Mali and Guinea-Bissau were considered on high alert and deemed for support in the event of an outbreak.
Considering the ongoing Emergency Appeal revision process within the time of reporting, this Ops Update focuses on activities included in the approved Emergency Plan of Action, implemented between 17 February and 30 September. New activities, reflecting the new strategy of intervention following new outbreaks, are included in the Revised EA.