Medicine

Ebola outbreak in Congo: Are we better prepared this time?

Ebola outbreak in Congo: Are we better prepared this time?

Worldwide health agencies are acting fast to contain a confirmed Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The UN health organisation also hopes to have a mobile lab up and running on site this weekend, Salama said.

On average, about 50% of people who become ill with Ebola die.

This is the country's ninth known outbreak of Ebola since 1976, when the disease was first identified in then-Zaire by a Belgian-led team.

Dr. Peter Salama, WHO Deputy Director-General, Emergency Preparedness and Response, said that the organization is "working with partners and responding early and in a coordinated way will be vital to containing this deadly disease".

"This situation worries us and requires a very immediate and energetic response", he said at a news conference.

The deaths occurred over a period of time and Ebola, which is not the only virus responsible for hemorrhagic fevers, has not been confirmed as the cause in any of the 17 cases, Ilunga said. The cases so far have been on a lake port, meaning it's possible an infected person could have traveled to a larger city.

According to social media, the alert by the government of DRC was issued on Tuesday (May 8) after results of a laboratory test that was carried showed confirmed two cases of EVD.

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Najib Balala, Tourism and Wildlife Cabinet Secretary said the outbreak has not affected tourists from West Africa from visiting Kenya.

A health worker sprays a colleague with disinfectant during a training session for Congolese health workers to deal with Ebola virus in Kinshasa October 21, 2014.

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

The risk to public health is assessed as high at the local level, moderate at the regional level and low at the global level, according to the WHO.

At this level, 80 percent of a population would need to be immunised to prevent outbreaks, even if a highly effective vaccine that protects 90 percent of individuals after vaccination was available.

Symptoms of Ebola include fever, severe headache, muscle pain, diarrhea, vomiting and unexplained bruising or bleeding.

The West African outbreak lasted for three years, infected about 28,000 people, killed 11,000 and spread out of Africa to places like the United States and Europe. It can be transmitted via sexual contact.

NAN reports that on May 30, 2017, the regulatory and ethics-review boards in the DRC approved the use of an experimental Ebola vaccine to combat.


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