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etvfutures.com May 24, 2018


Congo Ebola outbreak: World Health Organization in emergency talks as cases spread

18 May 2018, 09:28 | Lena Norman

Congo Confirms 14 More Ebola Virus Cases

Congo's Ebola risk 'very high' as confirmed virus cases rise

Helicopter and motorcycle are the only ways to reach Bikoro from Mbandaka, but an airstrip has been rapidly cleared for small planes to land with supplies.

"Another major issue here is that this centre of Mbandaka is on the banks of Congo River, and that river connects to the internal hinterland of DRC but also to surrounding countries such as Congo-Brazzaville and Central African Republic, so this outbreak now has a real risk of national and regional amplification".

"The confirmed case in Mbandaka, a large urban centre located on major national and worldwide river, road and domestic air routes increases the risk of spread within the Democratic Republic of the Congo and to neighbouring countries", the World Health Organization said.

The vaccine, called rVSV-ZEBOV, does not contain any live Ebola virus.

"Overnight, Mbandaka has become the number one priority for preventing this outbreak from getting out of control", said Peter Salama, the organisation's medical emergency programme head. So far, Congolese medics have identified 44 suspected cases of Ebola, with three confirmed by lab tests.

Those exposed to the suspected Ebola cases will for the first time in Congo receive Ebola vaccinations, the health minister said.

They've traced the first case back to early April, and the DRC's Ministry of Health (MoH) officially declared the situation an "outbreak" on May 8.

Oxfam announced Wednesday that it has made available an initial $68,000 (57,000 euros) to fight the spread of the disease.

That challenge amplifies greatly in urban environments where people move around more and have more contact with others than in the countryside. "So far, all of them have occurred in remote and isolated areas, as was the case past year in Likati, when the epidemic didn't spread." explains Henry Gray, MSF Emergency Coordinator in Mbandaka.

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Health advocates uniting under #MASTHMARUNONG the advocacy of providing asthma education

Health workers are sprayed with chlorine after leaving an isolation ward with suspected Ebola patients at Bikoro Hospital - the epicenter of the latest Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The city of nearly 1.2 million is on the Congo River, a busy travel corridor in the vast country and upstream from the capital, Kinshasa, a city of about 10 million.

World Health Organization has sent 4,000 doses of the experimental Ebola vaccine to Congo and said it will send thousands more in the coming days as needed.

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.

The experimental vaccine has been shown to be highly effective against Ebola.

The UN agency has been working with the Ministry of Health and Médecins Sans Frontières to conduct the ring fence vaccinations across the affected areas - where contacts of those infected, followed by contacts of those contacts, would all be vaccinated.

The average fatality rate among those infected with the virus is about 50 percent, according to the WHO.

An Ebola epidemic killed about 11,300 people in West Africa as it surged through Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia between 2013 and 2016.

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