Guinea, the West African country, announced on Sunday that the Ebola virus has become an epidemic after the deaths of three people and the hospitalization of four others, a report said.
Reuters reported that the country’s health system is not faced with the daunting task of responding to COVID-19 and Ebola outbreaks. The report noted that while Ebola is far more deadly than the coronavirus, it is not transmitted from asymptomatic hosts.
The last outbreak killed around 11,300 people. The 12 million country, one of the poorest in the world, is building treatment centers to cope with the potential for patient growth. The outbreak occurred in the southeast of the country. Health officials there believe the outbreak began at a funeral.
Sakoba Keita, the head of the National Health Security Agency, told the Washington Post that officials are trying to work quickly to track down those who may have come into contact with an infected person.
According to the newspaper, the country is also fighting yellow fever and measles outbreaks. Keita told the Post, “We are facing four epidemics at the same time.”
Last month, the World Health Organization announced that it was creating an emergency supply of approximately 500,000 doses of the Ebola vaccine worldwide to help eradicate future outbreaks. However, only 7,000 were available at the time of the declaration. The stock Ebola vaccine is manufactured by Merck.
“There are tools and systems that can be quickly mobilized to address these cases. The key will be speed and making sure that the right people and materials are where they are needed,” said Donald Brooks, CEO of Initiative: Eau , a U.S. aid group focused on water and sanitation, and has worked on establishing emergency public health response systems in West Africa.
The Associated Press contributed to this report