The World Health Organization (WHO) is deploying teams of experts to support national authorities in Central and West Africa as they work to avert widespread Ebola infections. Health authorities in Guinea declared an Ebola outbreak on 14 February after three cases detected a rural community tested positive for the virus. And in the Democratic Republic of Congo there are four confirmed Ebola cases, including two deaths, the WHO says. The agency has experts on the ground in the DRC and more than 100 WHO staff are expected to be part of the Ebola response in Guinea by the end of February. With the epicentre of the Ebola outbreak in Guinea being a border area, countries in the sub-region are on high alert and increasing public health measures and surveillance in border towns and communities to quickly detect and respond to possible cross-border infections, WHO says.
The ongoing response in Guinea and preparedness in neighbouring countries builds on experience gained during the 2014-2016 Ebola outbreak in West Africa, when WHO and partners worked with national teams to build capacity in surveillance and response. The West Africa Ebola outbreak began in Guinea and spread across land borders to Liberia and Sierra Leone. When it was finally brought under control there were 28 000 cases and 11 000 deaths, making it the deadliest since the virus was first detected in 1976, the agency says.