World Health Organization hopes to deploy vaccine after fresh Ebola outbreak in DR Congo
12 May, 2018, 23:13 | Author: Cecil Davis
The new outbreak has so far been confined to a remote region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, but health authorities fear that the disease could quickly spread across borders into neighboring countries including Central African Republic and Nigeria - and from there to other continents and countries including the United States.
On Friday, the World Health Organization said the risk of the spread of the Ebola epidemic in DR Congo was "high" and that it was preparing for the "worst-case scenario".
Ilunga also said seven people, including two with confirmed cases of Ebola have been hospitalized.
"We are very concerned, and we are planning for all scenarios, including the worst case scenario", WHO's head of emergency response Peter Salama told reporters in Geneva. Despite the remote location, one worrying sign is that the outbreak involves three separate locations that cover about 37 miles. The last death in the cluster was reported in February, and so far investigators haven't turned up an epidemiologic links between the previous and current outbreaks. In this case, the vaccine's deployment is meant to assist health-care workers in ending the outbreak long before it has the possibility of turning into an epidemic.
According to Reuters, the main hospital in Bikoro has received a new suspected Ebola case with the hospital's director confirming that on Friday.
In a report Thursday, the World Health Organization said the risk to public health from this outbreak is now assessed as being high at the local level, moderate at the regional level, and low at the global level.
"We have strengthened the routine screening of travellers at JKIA and as well as all the entry points into the country totaling 43, in all these places", the CS said.
The Organisation and the medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres already have specialists on the ground and hope to have a mobile laboratory up and running this weekend, according to Mr Salama.
Salama also said there was no evidence of a link between the outbreak and eight deaths that occurred in January and February in the same area, which had not been confirmed as Ebola.
Ebola viruses are a group of particularly nasty viruses that have a significant burden across Africa.
But the villages at the heart of this outbreak are close to the banks of the Congo River, a major artery for trade and transport upstream from the capital Kinshasa. The full extent of the outbreak is not known, according to the World Health Organization, and the location poses significant logistical challenges.
An outbreak of Ebola, a deadly form of viral hemorrhagic fever, has stricken Congo for the ninth time since the disease was discovered in the 1970s. "This situation worries us and requires an immediate and energetic response". A new experimental vaccine has been shown to be highly effective against the virus, though quantities are now limited.
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