Two people have contracted ebola in Guinea, the World Health Organization said Friday afternoon. This dashes any hope of an imminent end to the worst recorded outbreak of the disease.
Guinea was just weeks away from joining Liberia in being declared free of the virus that has killed more than 11,000 people in a near 2-year rampage. Sierra Leone, sharing borders with Guinea, is halfway through a 42-day countdown to being Ebola-free.
One of the cases in Forecariah, western Guinea, is linked to a previously known chain of infection, while the other is entirely new, authorities say.
“Of course we didn’t want it, but we did expect it. Guinea hadn’t got to the stage where we were looking at 42 days.”
Once an area has gone 42 days without a new cause, ebola transmission is considered to be over.
One of the two patients has been cured; the other – a 21-year-old man – is in the Nongo Treatment Centre in Conakry. He was not on the contact list of any previously registered victims.
“We suspect that he contracted the disease by another means, perhaps sexual, but we cannot be sure for the time being,” said Fode Tass Sylla.
A study earlier this month discovered the semen of male survivors can house the virus for nine months, and can live in other parts of the body, too.