Tuesday, 25 September, 2018

World Health Organization hopes to deploy vaccine after fresh Ebola outbreak in DR Congo

WHO Headquarters in Geneva WHO Headquarters in Geneva
Judith Alexander | 12 May, 2018, 20:56

"Community volunteers and groups are critical to stopping the spread of disease, especially in isolated areas, such as the epicentre of this current outbreak", said Dr Nafo-Traoré.

In the past five weeks, there have been 21 suspected cases of viral hemorrhagic fever, including 17 deaths. "Due to its huge swathes of forest, the DRC is a reservoir for the virus, making the country particularly susceptible to outbreaks of Ebola", he says.

Officials from the World Health Organization and other worldwide health agencies are in the area to help contain the outbreak's spread.

Health officials think the DRC Ebola outbreak may have begun sometime in April because of epidemiologic links with the most recently sick patients, but Salama downplayed suspicions that an illness cluster in January and February in an overlapping area near Bikoro might be related to the outbreak.

But according to BBC Africa, the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has announced that it is taking swift action to make sure Ebola does not enter the country.

Laboratory results confirmed two cases of the disease in the province of Bikoro in the northwestern part of the country. There is no specific treatment for Ebola, which is spread through the bodily fluids of people exhibiting symptoms.

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Eight people died, including Dr Stella Ameyo Adadevo, who first attended to Mr Sawyer and helped to ensure a more devastating outbreak was avoided in Nigeria. In a vaccination trial during the West African Ebola virus epidemic, only 49 percent of individuals who had been in contact with Ebola virus patients could be vaccinated.

In 2014, more than 11,000 people were killed in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. Screening had been stepped up since the latest outbreak in Congo. In addition to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, past Ebola outbreaks have occurred in Gabon, South Sudan, Ivory Coast, Uganda, Republic of Congo and South Africa.

Ikoko Impenge and Bikoro, however, lie not far from the banks of the Congo River, an essential waterway for transport and commerce.

Congo's health ministry on Tuesday, May 8, described the fresh outbreak as a "public health emergency with worldwide impact".

"Those coming from DRC will be monitored after they have been cleared by health officials at all the ports", Adewole said, adding that this included transit passengers from high-risk countries.

High fever, weakness, intense muscle and joint pain, headaches and a sore throat are often followed by vomiting and diarrhoea, skin eruptions, kidney and liver failure, and internal and external bleeding.

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