The Ebola outbreak in N’Zérékoré Prefecture has officially ended, according to the Republic of Guinea (Guinea) Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization (WHO).
Health authorities in Guinea declared a new Ebola outbreak in February 2021 after the West African country experienced its first cases of the disease since the end of the 2014-2016 Ebola outbreak labeled the worst on record.
Preliminary data obtained through genetic sequencing suggest that the new outbreak was caused by the same virus strain also responsible for the 2014-2016 outbreak and was likely reintroduced by a survivor.
The continuation of the outbreak, which has caused at least 23 cases and 12 deaths, along with the persistence of Ebola virus in human and animal hosts, underscores the importance of proactive vaccination efforts to prevent the further spread of the virus, health officials said.
The CDC added that the transmission of the virus by a survivor more than five years after recovery demonstrates the need for research to better understand persistent Ebola virus infection and highlights the necessity for strong and ongoing survivor programs.
“I commend the government and first responders in Guinea for ending the country’s Ebola outbreak,” said CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, MPH. “Our heartfelt sympathies are with the people who lost loved ones to this disease.”
“CDC remains committed to supporting survivor programs and helping strengthen global preparedness and response capacities that can prevent or extinguish future Ebola outbreaks,” she said.
Three months into the recent Ebola outbreak, Johnson & Johnson announced up to 200,000 Ebola vaccine regimens would be made available as part of a WHO early access clinical program now underway in Sierra Leone.
Sierra Leone has prior experience administering the Johnson & Johnson Ebola vaccine in 2015 during the West African epidemic.
The country’s Ministry of Health and the University of Sierra Leone collaborated with Johnson & Johnson on the first clinical study of the vaccine in an Ebola-affected country which took place in Sierra Leone’s Kambia district.
“We are moving with urgency and purpose to bring all of our available resources to help prevent the spread of this latest Ebola outbreak in Guinea,” said Ruxandra Draghia-Akli, M.D., Ph.D., global head, Global Public Health Research and Development, Johnson & Johnson, in May.
“We believe that, through the preventive use of Ebola vaccines, the global health community can help protect vulnerable communities living under the threat of this disease,” she said.