Ebola virus epidemic in Guinea

Ebola virus epidemic in Guinea
Guinea - Location Map (2013) - GIN - UNOCHA.svg
A map of Guinea where the Ebola virus outbreak began
Cases contracted in Guinea 3,806 (as of 25 October 2015) [1]
Deaths 2,535

An epidemic of Ebola virus disease in Guinea represents the first ever outbreak of Ebola in a West African country. Previous outbreaks have been confined to several countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. [2] The epidemic, which began with the death of a two-year-old boy in 2013, is now part of a larger Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa which has spread through Guinea and the neighboring countries of Liberia and Sierra Leone, with minor outbreaks occurring in Senegal, Nigeria, and Mali. In 2015, Guinea was declared free of Ebola transmission by the U.N. World Health Organization. [3]

Epidemiology

Researchers believe that the index case was a two-year-old boy who lived in the village of Meliandou, Guéckédou located in the Nzérékoré Region of Guinea. Researchers from the Robert Koch Institute in Berlin believe the boy contracted the virus while playing near a tree that was a roosting place for free-tail bats infected with the virus. Dr Fabian Leendertz, an epidemiologist who was part of the investigative team, said Ebola virus is transmitted to humans either through contact with larger wildlife (gorillas, monkeys), or by direct contact with bats. The boy, later identified as Emile Ouamouno, fell ill on 2 December 2013 and died four days later. [4] [5] The boy's sister fell ill next, followed by his mother and grandmother. [6] [7] It is believed the Ebola virus later spread to the villages of Dandou Pombo and Dawa, both in Guéckédou, by the midwife who attended the boy. From Dawa village the virus spread to Guéckédou Baladou District and Guéckédou Farako District, and on to Macenta and Kissidougou. [6] [7]

Although Ebola represents a major public health issue in sub-Saharan Africa, no cases had ever been reported in West Africa and the early cases were diagnosed as other diseases more common to the area such as Lassa fever, another hemorrhagic fever similar to Ebola. Thus, it was not until March 2014 that the outbreak was recognized as Ebola. The Ministry of Health of Guinea notified the World Health Organization (WHO), and on 23 March the WHO announced an outbreak of Ebola virus disease in Guinea with a total of 49 cases as of that date. [8] [9] [10] [11] By late May, the outbreak had spread to Conakry, Guinea's capital, a city of about two million inhabitants. [12]