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WHO alerts six African countries after Ebola outbreaks

HEALTH & SCIENCEBy REUTERS | Tue,Feb 16 2021 14:33:24 EAT
By REUTERS | Tue,Feb 16 2021 14:33:24 EAT

The World Health Organization has alerted six countries to watch out for potential Ebola cases after fresh outbreaks in Guinea and the Democratic Republic of Congo, a spokeswoman said on Tuesday.

Guinea declared a new Ebola outbreak on Sunday in the first resurgence of the disease there since the 2013-2016 outbreak, while the Democratic Republic of Congo reported a resurgence of the virus on Feb. 7.

“We have already alerted the six countries around, including of course Sierra Leone and Liberia, and they are moving very fast to prepare and be ready and to look for any potential infection,” the WHO’s Margaret Harris told a Geneva briefing. She did not specify the other countries.

Harris added that health authorities had identified close to 300 Ebola contacts in the Congo outbreak and around 109 in the Guinea one.

Gene sequencing of Ebola samples from both Congo and Guinea to learn more about origins of new outbreaks and identify the strains was underway, she said.

“We don’t know if this is down to Ebola persisting in the human population or if it’s simply moving again from the animal population but the genetic sequencing that’s ongoing will help with that information,” she said.

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