Monday, 21 May, 2018

19 killed, 39 Congolese infected by Ebola in new outbreak

This comes days after the first confirmed death in the Democratic Republic of Congo which also has 11 known sufferers (a health worker WHO gets approval to use Ebola vaccine in DRC
Melissa Porter | 14 May, 2018, 20:26

Ebola is a highly infectious disease spread through contact with even small amounts of bodily fluid of an infected person.

The Democratic Republic of Congo and United Nations agencies began deploying emergency teams of specialists over the weekend to try to prevent the spread of an Ebola epidemic suspected to have infected more than 30 people, they said on Sunday.

According to the World Health Organization, the DRC reported 39 suspected, probable or confirmed cases of Ebola between 4 April and 13 May, including 19 deaths.

Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, has arrived Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo), to assess the needs of Ebola response first-hand.

"Our top priority is to get to Bikoro to work alongside the Government of the DRC and partners to reduce the loss of life and suffering related to this new Ebola virus disease outbreak", said Dr Peter Salama, WHO Deputy Director-General, Emergency Preparedness and Response. Information about the outbreak in Bikoro, Iboko and Wangata health zones in Equateur province was still limited, the WHO said in a statement.

The global body also said that the current state of the outbreak does not require a declaration of a "public health event of worldwide concern".

WHO's Africa director, Matshidiso Moeti, told Reuters on Sunday: "We're working on the deployment of these materials, especially readying the cold chain".

The latest Ebola outbreak in the region northest of Kinshasa near the border with the Republic of Congo has so far killed 17 people.

Tedros said he hoped for a "better result" in this ninth Ebola outbreak in the vast central African country since 1976, when the deadly viral disease was first identified by a Belgian-led team.