One Dead, 800 Vaccinated in West Africa’s Renewed Ebola Fight
A woman is dead in Liberia while 800 people have been vaccinated in Guinea as fresh cases of Ebola continue to emerge in the countries that, earlier this year, were declared Ebola-free.
The woman who died was being transported to a hospital in the Liberian capital, Monrovia, but died before she arrived, the World Health Organization said Friday.
The WHO, along with local authorities, immediately sent rapid response teams to the community where the woman lived just outside Monrovia and the clinic where she was receiving treatment prior to her transfer. An investigation has been launched, and individuals who may have come in contact with her are being identified.
This new Ebola case marks Liberia’s third flare-up since the original outbreak was declared over in May, 2015. Another flare-up in the country began in November 2015, but was announced over in January, 2016.
The WHO said nearly 800 people in Guinea have been vaccinated against Ebola in the past week, including 182 considered to be at “high-risk,” because of possible contacts with infected people.
In total, the WHO’s office in Guinea said more than 1,000 people who may have had contact with infected people were identified, and they have been placed under medical observation.
The WHO is implementing what it calls a “ring vaccination” strategy that involves vaccinating anyone who has made contact with an Ebola victim and anyone else who has come in contact with that person.
Local health authorities in the cities of Nzerekore and Macenta reactivated the emergency coordination mechanism that was in use during the height of the Ebola epidemic, and a new large-scale inter-agency response is in progress.
The WHO is supporting the local effort with doctors, surveillance experts and social mobilizers. The agency also sent two senior Ebola-experienced clinicians to help with Ebola treatment in Nzerekore.
The most recent Ebola flare-up in Guinea has seen eight cases of the disease and seven deaths since late February. It is the first since the WHO declared the original outbreak over on December 29, 2015.
Earlier this week, the WHO announced that the Ebola outbreak in West Africa no longer qualifies as an extraordinary event, and there is a low risk of international spread.