“We remain vigilant and cannot say that the outbreak is over, as we continue to see new confirmed patients and are continuing to provide care for the patients who remain in treatment centers,” said Marc Poncin, emergency coordinator for MSF in Guinea. “Tracing the people who have had contact with known patients remains a key ongoing task.”
MSF is managing its facilities together with Guinea’s Ministry of Health, but controlling an Ebola outbreak also requires close collaboration with the affected populations, which can be challenging.
“We have to remember that this is a new disease for Guineans, and that there remains significant fear and stigma associated with it,” said Armand Sprecher, the project’s medical coordinator and an Ebola expert.
“We understand this fear, and have seen it in previous outbreaks in other countries. More work by all the actors involved in the epidemic is still needed to ensure that populations affected have the correct information, and [that they] seek prompt medical attention.”
As of Thursday, May 1, there was one confirmed Ebola patient in the center in the Guinean capital of Conakry, three in the center in Guekedou in the southeast, and none in the facility in Macenta, also in the southeast.
“We continue to see new patients in Conakry and Guekedou, and this is where we will be focusing our support to the Ministry of Health in its work to end the outbreak in the weeks to come,” said Poncin.
An Ebola outbreak cannot officially be declared over until 42 days have passed without any new cases.
In Macenta, the team has been put on standby. They will monitor the situation and return if there are any new cases.
In neighboring Liberia, no new cases have been reported in just over three weeks, but teams remain in place to support the Liberian Ministry of Health should there be a need.
According to the Guinean Ministry of Health, there have been 121 confirmed cases of Ebola since the outbreak began, 74 of which have been fatal.