Saturday, 20 July, 2019

Ebola: WHO Director General Arrives Kinshasa To Assess Needs For Curtailment

WHO gets approval to use Ebola vaccine in DRC 19 Dead, 39 Sick in New Outbreak: Death Rate at 50 Percent
Adrian Cunningham | 16 May, 2018, 11:39

Almost 20 people have died amid a new outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in the Democratic Republic of Congo, with 35 reported cases according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). Importantly, since the last update, cases have been reviewed and reclassified, and some discarded.

World Health Organization has reported 39 suspected, probable and confirmed cases of Ebola since April, including 19 deaths.

Doctor Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, on a two-visit to DR Congo, said the suspected new case was in Bikoro, at the centre of the latest Ebola outbreak in the country's northwest, where so far 18 people have died.

To date, 393 contacts have been identified and are being followed-up. Wangata health zone is adjacent to the provincial port city of Mbandaka (population 1.2 million).

Two days later, a rapid response team was dispatched from Kinshasa to examine these cases, many of which presented with the classic symptoms of the Ebola virus, including fever, severe vomiting and bleeding.

A cordon ribbon is seen around the isolation ward at Bikoro hospital in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The WHO has received approval to use an experimental Ebola vaccine, using a "ring vaccination" approach, around the epicenter of the oubreak in the Congo. The epicenter, a town called Bikoro, is hard to reach by vehicle because of poor roads between it and the regional capital, Mbandaka.

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The Congo's Ministry of Health is coordinating the emergency outbreak response, with support from WHO.

Information about the extent of the outbreak is still limited and investigations are ongoing.

The current outbreak is in a relatively remote area, with poor roads that both slow transmission and slow the access of responders as well.

The disease is endemic to the Democratic Republic of Congo, and this is the nation's ninth outbreak since the discovery of the virus in the country in 1976.

WHO officials noted that the outbreak is now rated a "high" public health risk at the national level, "moderate" at the regional level, and "low" risk at the global level, with assessments ongoing. It said that at present the outbreak does not meet the criteria for declaring a "public health event of global concern", which would trigger the formation of an emergency WHO committee. World Health Organization continues to monitor travel and trade measures in relation to this event, and now there are no restrictions of the worldwide traffic in place.

"At present", the agency added, "this event does not meet the criteria of a public health event of worldwide concern".