World Health Organization says 'high risk' Ebola will spread in DR Congo

18 May, 2018, 16:01 | Author: Otis Hoffman
  • 14 confirmed Ebola cases in Congo as emergency meeting held

The UN health agency is deploying around 30 experts to conduct surveillance in Mbandaka and is working with the DRC's Ministry of Health advising communities on prevention, treatment and reporting of new cases.

The outbreak, publicly declared on May 8, had previously been reported in a rural area of Equateur that lies roughly 150 kilometres (93 miles) from Mbandaka.

These would be given as a priority to people in Mbandaka who had been in contact with those suspected of carrying the Ebola virus before people in any other affected area, Mr Salama said.

Eleven new confirmed cases were reported in the Republic of Congo, which is confirmed by the local Ministry of health.

According to the Ministry, "In total since the start of the epidemic, there have been 45 cases of hemorrhagic fever, including 10 suspected cases, 21 probable cases, and 14 confirmed cases", the ministry said in a statement on Friday.

It said the new death has epidemiologic ties to another case.

"If you remember from the previous outbreak, it took a whole lot for the global community to understand it's a unsafe disease.Today it seems as if as soon as the first case was declared at least a lot of people are coming in to help", said Axelle Ronsse of the organisation.

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Notably, about 23 people have reportedly died and 42 people have contracted the virus since Epola outbreak began earlier in May.

The WHO is sending 7,540 doses of an experimental vaccine to try to stop the outbreak in its tracks, and 4,300 doses have already arrived in Kinshasa.

Doctors Without Borders said 514 people believed to have been in contact with infected people were being monitored.

But WHO advised against any restriction of travel and trade to the Democratic Republic of the Congo based on the now available information. The WHO has sent 4,000 doses to Congo and said it will dispatch thousands more as needed in the coming days.

"As more evidence comes in of the separation of cases in space and time, and healthcare workers getting infected, and people attending funerals and then travelling quite big distances - it's got everything we would worry about", he told Reuters.

Similarly, the European Commission has released around 1.6 million euros (1.9 million dollars) to help tackle an Ebola outbreak in Congo, as well as organising flights to transport emergency staff and equipment to the affected areas.

The virus is endemic to DRC, and causes an acute, serious illness, which is often fatal if untreated.

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