The Ministry of Health (MoH) of Guinea has notified the World Health Organization (WHO) of a rapidly evolving outbreak of Ebola hemorrhagic fever in forested areas south eastern Guinea. As of March 22, 2014, a total of 49 cases including 29 deaths (case fatality ratio: 59%) had been reported. The cases have been reported in Guekedou, Macenta, Nzerekore and Kissidougou districts. In addition, three suspect cases including two deaths in Conakry are under investigation. Four health care workers are among the victims. Reports of suspected cases in border areas of Liberia and Sierra Leone are being investigated.
Six of seven blood samples tested at Institut Pasteur in Lyon, France were positive for Ebola virus by PCR, confirming the first Ebola haemorrhagic fever outbreak in Guinea. Preliminary results from sequencing of a part of the L gene has showed strong homology with Zaire Ebolavirus, additional laboratory studies are ongoing to confirm these findings.
The Ministry of Health (MoH) together with WHO and other partners have initiated measures to control the outbreak and prevent further spread. The MoH has activated the national and district emergency management committees to coordinate response. The MoH has also advised the public to take measures to avert the spread of the disease and to report any suspected cases.
Multidisciplinary teams have been deployed to the field to actively search and manage cases; trace and follow-up contacts; and to sensitize communities on the outbreak prevention and control. Médecins Sans Frontières, Switzerland (MSF-CH) is working in the affected areas and is assisting with establishment of isolation facilities, and also supported transport of the biological samples from suspect cases and contacts to international reference laboratories for urgent testing.
The Emerging and Dangerous Pathogens Laboratory Network (EDPLN) is working with the Guinean VHF Laboratory in Donka, the Institut Pasteur in Lyon, the Institut Pasteur in Dakar, and the Kenema Lassa fever laboratory in Sierra Leone to make available appropriate Filovirus diagnostic capacity in Guinea and Sierra Leone.
WHO and other partners are mobilizing and deploying additional experts to provide support to the Ministry. The necessary supplies and logistics required for supportive management of patients and all aspects of outbreak control are also being mobilized.
The situation is rapidly evolving and reported figures are likely to change.
WHO does not recommend that any travel or trade restrictions be applied to Guinea in respect to this event.