May 27, 2018

Dead in Latest Congo Ebola Outbreak

14 May 2018, 08:58 | Lena Norman

Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki /FILE

Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki /FILE

Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who is scheduled to travel to DRC soon, will be taking stock of the situation.

The World Health Organisation has on Monday reported that 39 cases of suspected Ebola outbreak were reported in the Democratic Republic of Congo between April 4 and May 13.

The Ministry of Health of the DRC informed the World Health Organization (WHO) that two out of five samples collected from five patients tested positive for Ebola at the Institut National de Recherche Biomédicale (INRB) in Kinshasa.

According to him, as of May 11, "our case count is two confirmed cases, 12 suspected cases and 18 probable cases".

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

"We're concerned because this is a city of 1 million people", she said.

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The worst-ever Ebola outbreak started in December 2013 in southern Guinea before spreading to two neighbouring west African countries, Liberia and Sierra Leone, killing more than 11 300 people out of almost 29,000 registered cases.

The WHO was criticised for bungling its response to that epidemic, and so has moved quickly.

But this epidemic's proximity to the Congo River, a major transport route and lifeline both to Congo's capital, Kinshasa, and to neighbouring Congo Republic's capital, Brazzaville, makes it more likely the virus could break out into a wider area.

Bikoro health zone is almost 150 km from Mbandaka, capital of Equateur Province in an area of the country that is very hard to reach.

An outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in Bikoro health zone, Equateur Province, was declared four days ago.

Although the DRC outbreak is of a different strain, the experimental vaccine is still thought to be safe and effective.

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