Published: Wed, May 16, 2018
Health Care | By Edgar Pierce

Congo, UN deploy emergency teams of specialists to tackle Ebola outbreak

Congo, UN deploy emergency teams of specialists to tackle Ebola outbreak

By last Friday, 34 Ebola cases had been reported, including 18 probable deaths, the World Health Organization said in a statement.

This would mean that when a new Ebola case is diagnosed, all people who might have been in recent contact with them are traced and vaccinated to try and prevent the disease's spread.

The DRC has reported 39 suspected, probable or confirmed cases of Ebola between 4 April and 13 May, including 19 deaths.

South Sudan's Ministry of Health on Friday says it has set up an emergency response team along the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo following the reports of Ebola outbreak in North and Western Part of the Country. The 2014-2016 outbreak in West Africa involved major urban areas as well as rural ones. To date, 382 contacts have been identified, Tedros said.

Congo's health minister on Thursday announced the first death since the outbreak was declared early this week, though the hemorrhagic fever blamed for the death has not been confirmed as Ebola.

Tedros said the DRC government has provided all the needed documentation to trigger use of the Merck vaccine, including an import permit.

The current outbreak is in a relatively remote area, with poor roads that both slow transmission and slow the access of responders as well.

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Who's Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has visited the region, where 35 suspected cases have been reported so far - more than half of them fatal.

It is nearly certain that we won't see a repeat of the 2014-16 West African epidemic that claimed 11,000 lives, but healthcare experts needs to act swiftly, nonetheless.

The health ministry said: "Our country is facing another epidemic of the Ebola virus, which constitutes an global public health emergency".

On May 3, local health authorities reported a mysterious cluster of 21 unexplained illnesses in the Bikoro Health District, located in the Equateur Province of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The ministry is considering deploying an experimental vaccine, which the government authorized during last year's outbreak but never used, Ilunga said. "We are planning for all scenarios, including the worst scenario".

Five samples from hospitalized patients were sent to the National Institute of Biomedical Research in Congo's capital, Kinshasa, on May 7, of which two tested positive for the Zaire strain of Ebola virus, according to the WHO.

The virus is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission, either through direct contact with bodily fluids such as blood or secretions or contact with materials that are contaminated with these liquids. In fact, during the large West Africa outbreak, another Ebola popped up in the DRC (66 cases) and was promptly detected and contained.

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