5 new suspected Ebola cases reported in Congo's northwest

12 May, 2018, 06:44 | Author: Lillian Steele
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17 people are reported to have died from the latest outbreak in the town since December previous year, according to the country's health ministry. However, there is an airstrip 8 km from Bikoro.

This is DRC's ninth Ebola outbreak since scientists first identified the disease.

As of 11 May 2018, there are a total of 34 cases, with 18 deaths (case fatality rate 52.9%), among which two cases are confirmed, 14 suspected and 18 probable.

Six months after an Ebola outbreak was confirmed in West Africa in March 2014, the World Health Organization declared an worldwide emergency and called for help.

Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala said the country has stepped up surveillance efforts, saying it is ready to screen all entry points.

WHO Deputy Director-General of Emergency Preparedness and Response Dr. Peter Salama adds that they are also prioritizing the minimization of casualties. WHO said it was working with Kongo officials to scale operations in the region and to mobilize public health partners there. The formal response team-WHO, Doctors Without Borders and the DRC health ministry-have just arrived in the area, Rollins says, so there are still many unknowns.

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Whitworth said the situation was worrying, but Congo may be better prepared to detect and manage Ebola than other countries since it has had more experience.

The response "is going to be extremely challenging, and very costly", he said.

In terms of funding, World Health Organization has released $1 million from its Contingency Fund for Emergencies, which is expected to last for the next three months.

Even mass vaccination drives will not be enough to prevent Ebola outbreak, announced by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Gavi has an emergency stockpile of 300,000 doses. The WHO has reached out to experienced Ebola vaccinators from Guinea. A new experimental vaccine has been shown to be highly effective against the virus, though quantities are now limited. "This is a highly complex sophisticated operation in one of the most hard terrains on Earth", Salama said.

Kenya among other African countries was hailed as having contained the virus in 2014, with few reported deaths, following fears that it could spread through the commercial capital and impact on the country's main economic drivers such as tourism and transportation sectors.

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