Ebola Outbreak Enters 'New Phase' After Urban Case Confirmed
Ebola Outbreak Enters 'New Phase' After Urban Case Confirmed
Congo Confirms 14 More Ebola Virus Cases
18 May, 2018, 11:22
Congo's Ministry of Health has announced 11 new confirmed Ebola cases and two deaths tied to cases in the country's northwest.
Congo's latest Ebola outbreak has spread to a city of more than 1 million people, a worrying shift as the deadly virus risks traveling more easily in densely populated areas.
"This is a significant development because it's harder to control an outbreak in an urban setting because there are many more prospects for contact than in a rural area", World Health Organization spokesman Tarik Jasarevic told Al Jazeera.
The UN health agency is deploying around 30 experts to conduct surveillance in Mbandaka and is working with the DRC's Ministry of Health advising communities on prevention, treatment and reporting of new cases. Fourteen cases have been confirmed with laboratory tests.
The World Health Organization's efforts to curb the spread of an Ebola outbreak are on a war footing ahead of an emergency meeting it has called for to discuss worldwide risks, Reuters reported.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates 23 deaths in DRC in recent weeks were linked to Ebola, which has no proven cure.
The health agency has raised its earlier assessment after one patient in a major city was confirmed as having the disease.
WHO-partner, MSF, has also deployed its teams and is working with United Nations agencies to strengthen health capacity to treat Ebola patients.
These would be given as a priority to people in Mbandaka who had been in contact with those suspected of carrying the Ebola virus before people in any other affected area, Mr Salama said. It is paramount to trace the suspect case in order to have a clearer view on how it reached the city.
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At present, 514 people who may have been in contact with infected people have been notified by the national health authorities, and they are now under monitoring.
There is no specific treatment for Ebola.
The Department of Health first reported the outbreak, the ninth the country has faced in the past four decades, on May 8.
This is a major development in the outbreak.
The Ebola vaccine being provided - called rVSV-ZEBOV - has been shown to be safe in humans and highly effective against the Ebola virus, according to the WHO. There were no cases in the Congo during that outbreak. It will be used to protect healthworkers and "rings" of contacts around each case.
Ebola is a rare and deadly disease caused by a virus.
On average, about 50% of people who become ill with Ebola die.
"This puts a whole different lens on this outbreak and gives us increased urgency to move very quickly into Mbandaka to stop this new first sign of transmission", he said. The virus is initially transmitted to people from wild animals, including bats and monkeys.
"At least 44 people are believed to have been infected" during a new outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo, says the BBC, and "23 deaths are now being investigated".
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