Confirmed Ebola cases in Congo spikes to 39

Glen Mclaughlin
May 15, 2018

In Congo, vaccines will also be administered to local and worldwide health care workers and front-line workers in both affected areas as well as the regions expected to be at risk should the outbreak continue to spread.

"The WHO is strengthening its presence, positioning a dozen epidemiologists who will be divided on the axes of Mbandaka, Bikoro and Iboko to investigate alerts", its Congo representative, Allarangar Yokouide, said. Teams on the ground have identified more than 350 people who had contact with patients.

New Ebola outbreak has been declared in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The cases are being reported from remote locations that are hard to access.

The Bikoro area, where the outbreak is centered, borders the neighboring Republic of the Congo and the Congo River, the region's main trade route.

At present, this event does not meet the criteria of a public heath event of global concern as defined in the IHR (2005), and does not warrant the convening of an Emergency Committee under the IHR (2005).

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Officials are racing to prevent the virus from spreading out of control, as happened in West Africa from 2014 to 2016, when Ebola killed more than 11,300 people in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. The latest Ebola outbreak, however, is happening in the DRC, from where it all started. There is no specific treatment for the virus, and it can prove fatal in up to 90 percent of cases. "Work is under way to determine the beginning of this epidemic".

Although the DRC outbreak is of a different strain, the experimental vaccine is still thought to be safe and effective. Some deaths occurring as early as January have not yet been linked to the epidemic. "We have to get ahead of the curve and make promising diagnostics, drugs and vaccines for diseases we know could be a threat in the future".

The body's Africa Director Matshidiso Moeti told Reuters that "We're working on the deployment of these materials, especially readying the cold chain".

The Democratic Republic of Congo is to receive 4,000 doses of Ebola vaccine secured by the World Health Organization as the it prepares to deploy them. "We have enough of them", said the WHO's director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. "We have better weapons this time". A person becomes infected after making contact with an infected animal, such as a fruit bat or primate. That work is vital both to encourage people to agree to be vaccinated and to figure out if any local practices are increasing the risk the virus will spread.

The Ebola virus is highly contagious and causes a range of symptoms including fever, vomiting, diarrhea, generalized pain or malaise and in many cases internal and external bleeding.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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