WHO steps up efforts to curb Ebola outbreaks in Guinea and the DRC

With efforts gathering pace to promptly tackle the new Ebola outbreaks in Guinea and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the World Health Organization (WHO) is deploying teams of experts to support the national authorities ramp up the response and avert widespread infections.

Health authorities in Guinea declared an Ebola outbreak on 14 February after three cases detected in Gouécké, a rural community in N’Zerekore prefecture tested positive for the virus. It is the first Ebola outbreak in Guinea since 2016 when a large one was successfully brought under control.

More than 100 WHO staff, deployed from other countries and from within Guinea, are expected to be part of the Ebola response by the end of February. A team of eight experts from the WHO Regional Office for Africa in Brazzaville is leaving soon. Efforts are ongoing to step up surveillance, contact-tracing, testing and treatment as well as preparing for vaccination.

“We are hard at work, shifting quickly through the gears to get ahead of the virus. With experts and emergency supplies already getting on the ground, the response is off to a strong start,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa. “Our collective, quick action is crucial to averting an uncontrolled spread of Ebola amid the COVID-19 pandemic which has already pushed health workers and health facilities to the edge.”

A humanitarian flight arrived on 15 February in N’Zerekore with 700 kg of medical equipment donated by WHO and partners. A consignment of more than 11 000 doses of Ebola vaccine is expected to arrive in Guinea this weekend. Read more…

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