CONAKRY/MONROVIA. — Guinea’s Ebola co-ordination unit has traced an estimated 816 people who may have come into contact with victims of the disease or their corpses during a recent flare-up in a village in the country’s southeast, a health official said on Monday.
Guinea said last Thursday that it had discovered new cases of Ebola just hours after the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared neighbouring Sierra Leone’s latest outbreak over. Four people have died in the flare-up in Porokpara.
“Since the start of the tracing on Saturday, we have traced 816 contacts in 107 families,” Fode Tass Sylla, spokesman for the co-ordination unit, said on state television.
“We are optimistic because everyone is motivated and co-operating.”
The villagers will be quarantined in their homes for 21 days, after which time, if they have not developed symptoms, they will be released, Sylla said.
The world’s worst Ebola outbreak on record is believed to have started in Guinea and killed about 2 500 people there by December last year when the WHO announced an end to active transmission in the country.
More than 28 600 people have been infected and 11 300 have died, nearly all of them in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, since the epidemic began in December 2013.
Meanwhile, Liberia closed its border with Guinea yesterday as a precaution against Ebola following at least four deaths from the virus in Guinea, Information Minister Lenn Eugene Nangbe said.
The deaths occurred since February 29, while Liberia was declared free of new transmissions of the virus in January.
“We have ordered the border with Guinea closed with immediate effect. The border will remain closed until the situation in Guinea improves,” Nangbe told Reuters.
“We are not taking any chance at all,” he said.
A team of medics with protective gear had been sent to the border to improve surveillance.
The haemorrhagic fever has killed about 11 300 people in the two countries plus Sierra Leone since late 2013 and it caused global alarm in 2014 as governments and health agencies rushed to help contain the outbreak.
New cases have dwindled virtually to zero but the UN World Health Organisation warns of flare-ups, or emerging clusters, of new cases. — Reuters.