The West African country Guinea declared an Ebola epidemic Sunday after an outbreak killed several people and hospitalized others.
The Ebola virus killed at least three people and infected four others after a spread possibly traced to the Feb. 1 burial of a nurse. All the known cases involved people aged over 25.
"The government reassures the population that all measures are being taken to stem this epidemic as quickly as possible," Guinean Health Minister Remy Lamah said per the Washington Examiner.
"It invites the populations of the affected areas to respect hygiene and prevention measures and to report to health authorities in the presence of suggestive signs."
Cases of Ebola, which causes diarrhea, internal hemorrhaging, and fever, had been isolated to two cities, N'Zerekore and Conakry.
Supplies and vaccinations from the World Health Organization began to arrive in Guinea.
Between 2014-16, neighboring nations suffered Ebola outbreaks in which more than 11,300 people died. Sierra Leone and Liberia put their citizens on high alert after the news from Guinea, according to the Associated Press.
The's WHO Ebola vaccines were developed during the initial pandemic, and last month the WHO announced it would maintain 500,000 doses to combat future spread.
Guinea has had about 15,000 COVID-19 cases, with 85 deaths, since the pandemic started.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo last week confirmed four Ebola cases not linked to the Guinea outbreak.
A 2018 Ebola outbreak in the Congo resulted in 2,200 deaths from the disease. The virus resurfaced in June 2020, when four people died in what was ruled a follow-up to the initial spread.
"Time is of the essence. The resurgence of the virus in Guinea comes at the worst possible time when the country is already facing the COVID-19 pandemic," said Mohammed Mukhier-Abuzein, the regional director for Africa for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
"Unless the response is swift, the health, economic, and social impacts are likely to be immense for millions of people in a country with a relatively weak health system and where more than half of the population lives below the poverty line."
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