First Death in New Ebola Outbreak Confirmed in Congo
First Death in New Ebola Outbreak Confirmed in Congo
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11 May, 2018, 19:32
"I think with this rapid response we will be able to contain it", World Health Organization emergencies director for Africa, Ibrahima Soce Fall, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
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According to Reuters, the main hospital in Bikoro has received a new suspected Ebola case with the hospital's director confirming that on Friday.
"This situation worries us and requires a very immediate and energetic response", he said at a news conference. More than 450 million people are residing in areas affected from Ebola viruses and majority come under rural section. So far, only two people have tested positive for the virus.
This is the ninth Ebola outbreak in DRC since 1976, when the deadly disease was first identified.
The latest outbreak is occurring in the Bikoro health zone, 400 kilometers (about 250 miles) from Mbandaka, the capital of Equateur province. But the tree burned down and the bats were reduced to char, destroying the opportunity to search for much evidence-although researchers were able to use trace DNA fragments to pinpoint that they were Mops condylurus, an insect-eating species common across central and west Africa.
"It is an absolutely dire scene in terms of infrastructure", Salama said. "But, you can imagine in rural DRC where there is not even electricity, it is not easy thing to do", he said.
The WHO is working with authorities in Congo and is in discussions with the World Food Programme to arrange airlifting supplies to the affected areas.
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Prevention includes limiting the spread of the disease from infected animals to humans.
There is no current vaccine to prevent Ebola or licensed treatment for it.
He stressed however that "this is an experimental vaccine", pointing out that it must be stored at temperatures as low as minus 80 degrees Celsius (-112 degrees Fahrenheit).
"This is not a simple logistical effort; it's not like doing a polio campaign with oral polio vaccines, where we get it immediately out to the field".
"This is a highly complicated, sophisticated operation in one of the most hard terrains on earth", Salama said.
The WHO has also put Congo's nine neighbours on high alert, with most concern for Congo Republic, which shares a long border with it on the Congo and Ubangi rivers, and Central African Republic to the north, although the risk of worldwide spread was still seen as low.
The worst-ever Ebola outbreak started in December 2013 in southern Guinea before spreading to two neighbouring west African countries, Liberia and Sierra Leone, killing more than 11,300 people out of almost 29,000 registered cases.
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