Ebola, the deadly virus that claimed over 11,300 lives in Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia since 2014, has resurged.
According to Reuters, five people since March 17 have succumbed to the virus in the southern prefectures of Guinea. The first cases were reported in Koropara, in the Nzérékoré Prefecture. The capital, Conakry, is about 1,000 km (620 mi) to the northwest.
— Gavi (@gavi) March 12, 2016
As a precaution, neighboring Liberia closed its borders with Guinea on March 22, though the border between the two West African nations is considered “porous,” with trade across the boundary being a frequent occurrence.
On March 18, the World Health Organization (WHO) sent a “team of specialists” to the Nzérékoré Prefecture, where four of the recent cases have been reported. The latest case, however, was reported in the Macenta Prefecture, about 200 kilometers (around 125 miles) from the Nzérékoré cases.
Coincidentally, WHO released a statement on March 17 declaring the end of a flare-up of the virus in Guinea’s neighboring Sierra Leone.
Guinean authorities have placed over 800 individuals who came in contact with those recently infected under medical observation—”Their movements to and from the area will be restricted while they are under medical observation” said WHO.
Unlike at the beginning of the 2014 epidemic, medical teams have a weapon they previously did not possess: the Ebola vaccine. WHO notes that “contacts and contacts of contacts” of the recently infected will receive the vaccine.
The original outbreak in Guinea was declared over on Dec. 29, 2015; these are the first reported cases of the virus in Guinea since the declaration.