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2021 Ebola Outbreaks in DRC and Guinea

  • Updated 5/10/2021


West and Central Africa are facing renewed outbreaks of Ebola virus disease (EVD). The Ministry of Health of the Democratic Republic of the Congo declared an outbreak of EVD on 7 February 2021 after the confirmation of one case in Butembo, North Kivu Province. Genetic sequencing analysis indicates that this outbreak is linked to the two-year-long outbreak that took place in North Kivu and Ituri provinces from 2018 to 2020.1

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The Ministry of Health of the Republic of Guinea announced a new outbreak of Ebola virus disease on 14 February 2021 after a cluster of cases was reported in the sub-prefecture of Gouécké, Nzérékoré Region. This is the first time the disease has been reported in Guinea since the previous outbreak that ended in 2016.2

The WHO assesses the risk for the region as high, given cross-border movement, despite COVID-related restrictions, and ongoing challenges for the public health system including COVID-19, and recent cholera and measles outbreaks that may jeopardize the countries’ ability to rapidly detect and respond to EVD cases. It is essential that neighboring countries assess their preparedness capacities and implement readiness/response measures.3 2

Past epidemics have shown that lack of access to essential health services resulted in more deaths than those caused by the epidemic itself.4 It is essential that health services, including the MISP, continue throughout an epidemic; that the population is informed and encouraged to continue utilizing them; and that services are safe and secure both for health care staff and patients.

  1. https://www.who.int/emergencies/situations/ebola-2021-north-kivu
  2. https://www.who.int/emergencies/situations/ebola-2021-nzerekore-guinea
  3. https://www.who.int/csr/don/10-february-2021-ebola-drc/en/
  4. Ilunga Kalenga, O., Moeti, M., Sparrow, A., Nguyen, V.K., Lucey, D. and Ghebreyesus, T.A., 2019. The ongoing Ebola epidemic in the Democratic Republic of Congo, 2018–2019. New England Journal of Medicine.