Officials today confirmed the first new cases of Ebola in Guinea since the country was declared free of transmission in December at the end of the worst outbreak of the disease in history.
WHO said it dispatched a team of specialists to the village of Koropara, in the southern prefecture of Nzérékoré, after local health officials alerted the organization to three unexplained deaths in recent weeks and apparent Ebola symptoms among members of the same family.
Two patients — a mother and her son, aged 5 years — tested positive for Ebola and were taken to a treatment facility, WHO said. The organization said it was working with local health officials, the CDC and UNICEF to investigate the origin of the new infections and to identify, isolate, vaccinate and monitor all contacts of the new cases and those who died.
The recent Ebola outbreak in West Africa began in Gueckedou, Guinea, in December 2013, and killed more than 11,300 people — most of them in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. WHO had declared Guinea free of Ebola transmission on Dec. 29, 2015.
The organization said it continues to stress that all three countries are still at risk for flare-ups, largely due to virus persistence in some survivors.
The new cases in Guinea were confirmed the same day WHO declared the end of the latest Ebola flare-up in Sierra Leone.