Ebola virus

  1. Ebola: Study finds survivors can carry dormant virus for years

    Video content

    Video caption: Guinea's recent Ebola outbreak started by a survivor of previous outbreak researchers say

    New data suggests humans can carry the dormant virus for years in their eyes, central nervous system or testes

  2. 'High risk' that Ebola will spread from Guinea - WHO

    A health worker vaccinates a patient
    Image caption: Vaccines against Ebola arrived in the country last week

    The World Health Organization has warned there is a "very high risk" that an Ebola virus outbreak in Guinea could spread to neighbouring countries.

    "As of yesterday a total of 18 cases were reported:14 were confirmed, including 4 deaths. This gives a case fatality rate of 44.4%," says Dr Georges Alfred Ki-Zerbo, the WHO's representative in Guinea.

    The global health body says some neighbouring countries are yet to prepare any vaccination campaigns.

    So far more than 1,600 people have been vaccinated against Ebola in Guinea.

    The outbreak which began almost three weeks ago is the first in the region since in 2014 when the disease killed more than 11,000 people in Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia.

    More on this topic:

  3. Africa Daily: Will Africa ever get rid of Ebola?

    Alan Kasujja

    BBC Africa Daily

    A staff member of the N'zerekore hospital, in Guinea, lifts his shirt sleeve as he prepares to get his anti-ebola vaccination
    Image caption: Vaccines, developed during the 2103-2016 epidemic, are being used to inoculate those in Guinea who have come into contact with Ebola patients as well as frontline health workers

    Ebola’s back in Guinea - and people are nervous, because this was the epicentre of the world’s deadliest Ebola outbreak in 2013.

    That one spread to Liberia and Sierra Leone, lasted three years and claimed more than 11,000 lives.

    But this time, things are different.

    “[It’s] compounded by the fact that there’s also the coronavirus here and in recent days the number of infections has been going up steadily,” said Alhassan Sillah, the BBC’s reporter in Conakry, the capital of Guinea.

    But it’s not all bad news. Lessons have been learnt from the last epidemic.

    Governments have tracking systems in place to contain the spread of the disease, vaccines are being rolled out in hotspots and scientists are studying the DNA of the virus.

    Dr Christian Happi, director of the African Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases, is credited with preventing the disease spreading to Nigeria.

    “Using genome sequencing actually enables you to have a deep understanding of the genetic make-up of the virus that is creating the disease,” he said.

    “That genetic make-up is very critical for any counter measures that could be developed, for instance for diagnostics, for drugs, for vaccines.”

    So, could Africa finally be ready to beat Ebola? Find out in Friday’s edition of Africa Daily.

    Subscribe to the show on BBC Sounds or wherever you get your podcasts.

  4. DR Congo confirms one more Ebola case

    A health worker administers a vaccine
    Image caption: There are now seven cases and vaccination began last week

    The Democratic Republic of Congo has confirmed one more case of Ebola.

    This latest case is connected to the first case, reported earlier this month, of a nurse who died in the resurgence of the virus in the eastern DR Congo.

    The country now has seven confirmed cases and four deaths, according to the World Health Organization.

    More than 250 health workers and high-risk contacts had been vaccinated by Saturday.

    The country launched a vaccination campaign seven days after the resurgence.

    More on this topic:

  5. Ebola vaccines arrive in Guinea

    BBC World Service

    Ebola vaccines

    A special plane carrying a consignment of Ebola vaccine landed in Guinea on Monday night.

    A dust storm in the Sahara on Sunday had forced the aircraft off course and diverted it to Senegal, delaying vaccine rollout by a day.

    Vaccinations are to begin in Guinea's capital, Conakry, on Tuesday.

    Most of the 11,000 doses are to be taken to the south-eastern town of Nzérékoré.

    Five people have recently died there from Ebola.

    It's West Africa's first outbreak of the deadly haemorrhagic fever since 2016.

    Ebola vaccines

    More on this topic:

  6. Guinea postpones Ebola vaccination

    BBC Monitoring

    The world through its media

    A health care worker
    Image caption: Guinea confirmed a resurgence of the Ebola epidemic

    Guinea has postponed an Ebola vaccination roll out that was to begin on Monday due to bad weather.

    The plane carrying 11,000 World Health Organization vaccines was unable to land at the Conakry-Gebessia International Airport on Sunday because of bad weather conditions.

    The plane was forced to divert to Dakar in Senegal.

    Guinea's health ministry said on Facebook that they planned to fly the supplies from Dakar on Monday and start the vaccination roll out one day late on Tuesday.

    It is unclear whether is was possible for the Monday flight to take place.

    Guinean health authorities confirmed on 14 February the resurgence of the Ebola epidemic in the country.

    The new cases were reported in Gouecke, in the southeastern prefecture of N'Zerekore where at least six people have died.

  7. Suspected Ebola case reported in Liberia

    Jonathan Paye-Layleh

    BBC News, Monrovia

    An Ebola worker in Guinea - archive
    Image caption: Ebola is spread through close physical contact with infected people

    A suspected case of Ebola in Liberia has been detected in a woman who came from the Guinean town of Nzérékoré, which is in the region of a new outbreak of the virus.

    Liberia's Health Minister Wilhelmina Jallah told the BBC that specimens had been collected from the woman who is currently in the isolation unit of a leading hospital in the capital, Monrovia.

    She said the woman had gone to a local clinic showing malaria-related symptoms before she was transferred to the hospital for further examinations.

    Dr Jallah said that in view of the symptoms she had shown, the woman was considered a suspected case, but her actual status would only become known after the result of tests.

    Nzérékoré is close to the border with Liberia and before the outbreak of Covid-19, trade boomed between people in the town and those from Liberia.

    Guinea has officially declared that it is dealing with an Ebola epidemic after the deaths of at least three people from the virus.

    Between 2013 and 2016 more than 11,000 people died in the Ebola epidemic, which had badly affected Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

    In response to that West Africa epidemic several Ebola vaccines were trialled that have since been successfully used to fight outbreaks in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

  8. Nigeria issues red alert over Ebola outbreak

    Ebola virus particle
    Image caption: Ebola virus jumps to humans from infected animals

    Nigerian authorities have put health workers on red alert following the resurgence of Ebola epidemic in Guinea.

    Health Minister Osagie Ehanire said they would monitor all entry points to pick out any suspected cases, local media reports.

    He said Nigeria was ready to send volunteers to support the World Health Organization's measures to contain the spread of the disease in Guinea.

    The minister said they were following developments in Guinea with concern.

    Guinea has registered a fourth death linked to the disease.

    The 2014-2016 Ebola outbreak in West Africa left more than 11,000 people dead.

    More on this topic:

  9. Liberia on high alert over Ebola at Guinea border

    Jonathan Paye-Layleh

    BBC News, Monrovia

    Health workers during the Ebola outbreak
    Image caption: Liberia was among countries that were worst affected by the Ebola outbreak

    Liberia’s President George Weah has ordered health authorities to heighten surveillance in the wake of an Ebola resurgence in neighbouring Guinea.

    Three people have died in Guinea and four others reportedly have symptoms. The Guinean region affected by the latest outbreak is near the border with Liberia.

    President Weah is currently on a tour of the border region and has asked authorities to be on high alert.

    He has instructed ordered health officials to “immediately engage communities in towns and villages bordering Guinea and increase anti-Ebola measures”.

    The West African Ebola epidemic of 2014-16 affected 28,616 people, mainly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. About 11,310 people died in what was the largest outbreak of the virus ever recorded - and 4,000 of those deaths were in Liberia alone.

    As of Monday, Liberia has not reported any new cases.

    Mr Weah, who was a senatorial aspirant during the 2014 outbreak, released a song with a Ghanaian singer Sidney to create awareness.

    View more on youtube
  10. Guinea Ebola outbreak: what we know so far

    Video content

    Video caption: Contact testing is underway after a number of people who attended a funeral fell ill

    Contact testing is underway after a number of people fell ill after attending the funeral of a nurse

  11. WHO concerned about Ebola resurgence in West Africa

    The World Health Organization (WHO) has expressed concern over the resurgence of Ebola in West Africa and activated response efforts.

    WHO's Regional Director Matshidiso Moeti said the agency was "ramping up readiness".

    View more on twitter

    Guinea's health ministry declared an Ebola outbreak on Sunday.

    The government has set up a treatment centre in Goueké town in the south-east where the cases were reported.

    Officials said newly developed vaccines would be acquired through the WHO.

    "The WHO is on full alert and is in contact with the manufacturer [of a vaccine] to ensure the necessary doses are made available as quickly as possible to help fight back," the AFP news agency quotes Alfred George Ki-Zerbo, the WHO representative in Guinea, as saying.

    Meanwhile health officials in the Democratic Republic of Congo confirmed a third new case of Ebola in the eastern part of the country on Friday.

    More on this topic:

  12. DR Congo confirms third Ebola case

    Mary Harper

    Africa editor, BBC World Service

    A colourised scan of coronavirus particles

    Health officials in the Democratic Republic of Congo have confirmed a third case of Ebola in the east of the country.

    The case occurred in North Kivu province, the same area as two earlier cases were detected.

    Efforts are underway to trace people who have come into contact with the infected people, and a vaccination programme is being prepared.

    This is the 12th outbreak of Ebola in DR Congo.

    More on this topic:

  13. DR Congo to vaccinate against Ebola after two deaths

    Emery Makumeno

    BBC News, Kinshasa

    A Congolese health worker administers an Ebola vaccine to a man at the Himbi Health Centre in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo in 2019
    Image caption: Ebola vaccines were first used in DR Congo in 2019

    Officials in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo are gearing up to begin an Ebola vaccination campaign following the death of two people in North Kivu province.

    A 60-year-old female farmer died of Ebola on Wednesday, six days after a 42-year-old woman had died in hospital of the virus near the city of Butembo.

    Eugene Nzanzu Syalita, the province’s health minister, told the BBC that they would start inoculating people in Masoya, a heath zone near Butembo. He did not specify when exactly this would be.

    In total he said 161 people in that area had been traced who had had contact with the first patient.

    Samples are being studied in the capital, Kinshasa, to assess whether the cases are a new strain of Ebola.

    The virus was first discovered in DR Congo in 1976 and the country has suffered 11 outbreaks in total over the last four decades.

    The last major one was also in the east - killing 2,287 people between August 2018 and June 2020.

    In response to the West Africa epidemic, which killed more than 11,000 people from 2014 to 2016, several vaccines were developed and were first used in DR Congo in 2019.

  14. Ebola contact tracing starts in DR Congo

    Emery Makumeno

    BBC News, Kinshasa

    Ebola virus
    Image caption: Ebola virus can spread rapidly, through contact with even small amounts of bodily fluid of those infected

    Health officials in the Democratic Republic of Congo have started tracing those who came in contact with a patient who died from Ebola.

    The 42-year-old woman died last Wednesday in North-Kivu province just two days after developing symptoms of the disease.

    A team of epidemiologists are on the ground investigating the case and authorities have announced that the disinfection of the sites visited by the patient was underway.

    The World Health Organization (WHO) has already identified more than 70 contact cases of the disease.

    The country had three months ago declared the end of its 11th Ebola outbreak that killed 55 people

    Health Minister, Eteni Longondo, says doctors are determining whether the latest cases are from a new strain of the disease.

    He also called for calm in the affected community.

    The 10th Ebola epidemic, and the deadliest to hit the country, killed more than 2,200 people between August 2018 and June 2020.

    What is Ebola?

    • Ebola is a virus that initially causes sudden fever, intense weakness, muscle pain and a sore throat
    • It progresses to vomiting, diarrhoea and both internal and external bleeding
    • People are infected when they have direct contact through broken skin, or the mouth and nose, with the blood, vomit, faeces or bodily fluids of someone with Ebola
    • Patients tend to die from dehydration and multiple organ failure
  15. A new case of Ebola virus detected in DR Congo

    BBC World Service

    Person wearing personal protective clothing
    Image caption: Health workers in DR Congo have had to deal with multiple outbreaks of Ebola over the years

    A new case of the Ebola virus has been detected in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the country's health ministry says.

    A woman from the town of Biena near the city of Butembo has died from the disease.

    The authorities say they are sending a response team to the area.

    This would be DR Congo's 12th Ebola outbreak.

    The previous one occurred nearly three months ago in the west.

    What is Ebola?

    • Ebola is a virus that initially causes sudden fever, intense weakness, muscle pain and a sore throat
    • It progresses to vomiting, diarrhoea and both internal and external bleeding
    • People are infected when they have direct contact through broken skin, or the mouth and nose, with the blood, vomit, faeces or bodily fluids of someone with Ebola
    • Patients tend to die from dehydration and multiple organ failure
  16. WHO names team to probe DR Congo sex abuse claims

    A girl receives a vaccine against Ebola from a nurse in Goma on August 7, 2019.
    Image caption: The Ebola outbreak mostly affected eastern DR Congo

    The World Health Organization (WHO) has appointed two women leaders to head investigations into allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation by aid workers during the recent Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

    Congolese human rights advocate, Julienne Lusenge, and former Nigerien minister, Aïchatou Mindaoudou, will co-chair the commission.

    The commission will "swiftly establish the facts, identify and support survivors, ensure that any ongoing abuse has stopped, and hold perpetrators to account", according to a WHO statement.

    The UN health agency tweeted its full statement:

    View more on twitter

    A year-long investigation published last month by The New Humanitarian and the Thomson Reuters Foundation indicated that aid workers who identified themselves as WHO staff sexually abused women during the Ebola outbreak in the country.

    Local women were allegedly plied with drinks, "ambushed" in hospitals, forced to have sex, and two became pregnant.

    The allegations cover the period between 2018 and March 2020.

  17. South Sudan's suspected Ebola cases 'test negative'

    Nichola Mandil

    BBC News, Juba

    Ebola virus

    The authorities in South Sudan have said the suspected cases of Ebola in the north-western region have tested negative.

    But samples were not collected from those who died from a yet to be established illness that sparked suspicions.

    They were buried before a medical team from the health ministry and the World Health Organization (WHO) arrived in the area.

    Last week, the health ministry received an alert from Raja county in Western Bahr El-Ghazal State, after three people died from an unknown disease in Timssa area, near Central African Republic (CAR).

    Three others were reported to be in “critical condition”.

    “The ministry of health would like to inform the general public that the samples tested negative of Ebola and other forms of Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers," John Rumunu, director-general for health preventive services, told reporters in the capital, Juba.

    "There is no Ebola virus in South Sudan and there is no reason to panic,” he added.

    Dr Angelo Goup Thon, the acting director for emergency preparedness and response, said samples collected from critically ill patients that had returned a negative test result had been sent to Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) for toxicology analysis.

    Results are expected in two days.