Guinea officially declared an Ebola epidemic after at least three people died and four more infected.
The virus outbreak is taking place in the city of N’Zerekore in the southern part of the West African nation.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned the region needs to be very vigilant after nearby Congo also confirmed four cases of Ebola. The outbreaks in the two countries are not believed to be linked.
Mike Ryan, WHO’s top emergency expert, said in a press conference: “We must be exceptionally vigilant and extremely vigilant. [Ebola] represents a regional risk. “
According to Guinea’s Health Minister Remy Lamah, those affected in Guinea attended a nurse’s funeral at the beginning of February.
He added that the first investigation counted seven cases, all those over the age of 25, including the two deceased women and one man.
“The government assures the population that all measures will be taken to contain this epidemic as soon as possible. It calls on the populations of the affected areas to respect hygiene and preventive measures and to report to health authorities if there are signs of any signs, ”Lamah said in the ministry’s statement.
The epidemic was declared after a crisis meeting on Sunday, during which all suspected cases in N’Zerekore and Conakry, the capital, were isolated.
Traditional funerals, where people wash and touch the body of the deceased, encourage the spread of Ebola.
It usually jumps from infected animals like bats to people and then spreads between people through direct contact with body fluids.
WHO has said it is working to ensure that the vaccines developed during the 2014-2016 outbreak are available as soon as possible.
Last month, the WHO announced that it would create an emergency supply of approximately 500,000 doses of the Ebola vaccine worldwide to help eradicate future outbreaks. However, only 7,000 were available at the time of the declaration.
The international medical organization Doctors Without Borders said it is also sending teams to fight the outbreak.
Additional coverage from Associated Press and Reuters