Ebola outbreak declared in Democratic Republic of Congo may spread
12 May, 2018, 23:11 | Author: Israel Montgomery
At least 18 people have died in what appears to be the worst outbreak of the Ebola virus since a catastrophic 2014 epidemic in western Africa claimed more than 11,000 lives.
Both confirmed Ebola cases came from the iIkoko Iponge health facility located about 30 kilometers from Bikoro. To allow small planes to land in the area, officials are exploring the possibility of clearing an airstrip in Bikoro.
"My ministry established the National Health Emergencies Council to work expeditiously to prevent importation of any virus or disease".
The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) has also mobilized doctors, sanitation and hygiene specialists, to help contain the spread of the disease.
"We will also ensure we step up all activities screening people coming in so that we will not be caught unawares", said health minister, Isaac Adewole.
Deputy Director-General of Emergency Preparedness and Response Peter Salama said the organisation was "preparing for the worst-case scenario".
World Health Organization already has a team on the ground and is preparing to send up to 40 more specialists in epidemiology, logistics, contact tracing and other areas to the region in the coming week or so. However, the disease is not as gruesome as has sometimes been reported (body organs don't liquiefy), which makes it hard to figure out what's Ebola and what's not.
Based on lessons learned in past outbreaks, the World Health Organization has already produced some technical materials in the local language and sent them to the area, Salama said. Vaccinations cost $15-$20 per dose and 462 million people live in regions impacted by Ebola outbreaks. We probably won't know for sure what went wrong in this outbreak, but blame has been placed on the slow response of the worldwide community, the fragility of the region's health services, and the failure of public health campaigns to reach all people. The WHO has already released $1 million from its contingency fund, and Wellcome Trust and the United Kingdom government have pledged £3 million ($4.1 million). "A standby ambulance with a driver and relevant protective gear has been provided by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and is available twenty four-seven", Dr Mwebesa said in a press statement. The side effects were mostly mild.
Ebola viruses are a group of particularly nasty viruses that have a significant burden across Africa. Ebola is fatal in about 50 per cent of cases.
"This is a highly complicated, sophisticated operation in one of the most hard terrains on earth", Salama said.
Experimental vaccines and treatments for Ebola are under development, but they have not yet been fully tested for safety or effectiveness.
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