Ebola virus outbreak RAVAGES Congo as death toll rises to 20

Ebola virus outbreak RAVAGES Congo as death toll rises to 20

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It is also in the proximity to the densely populated city of Mbandaka, which is a crossroads in the province of Equateur and to neighboring provinces. Ebola spreads through direct contact with bodily fluids of infected people.

The city of nearly 1.2 million is on the Congo River, a crucial travel corridor in the vast country and upstream from the capital, Kinshasa, a city of about 10 million.

Health workers are sprayed with chlorine after leaving the isolation ward to diagnose and treat suspected Ebola patients, at Bikoro Hospital in Bikoro, the rural area where the Ebola outbreak was announced in early May in Congo. And now global health experts are rushing to get the vaccine into Congo. The World Health Organization report reveals that the Health Officials have identified almost four hundred and thirty-two victims of the Ebola.

In its statement today, the WHO said tests done at the national lab in Kinshasa confirmed that one specimen from the Wangata health zone in Mbandaka tested positive for Ebola.

Those exposed to the suspected Ebola cases will for the first time in DRC receive Ebola vaccinations, the health minister said.

Previously, all of the Ebola cases during this outbreak were located in Bikoro, which is a remote African region.

Congo Health Minister Oly Ilunga says he is anxious because Mbandaka is densely populated and at the crossroads of the province.

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Forty-four cases have been reported in the outbreak so far, including three confirmed, 20 probable and 21 suspected, according to the WHO's tally. Health care workers are often infected, and burial practices that call for washing or other close contact with Ebola victims also can spread the disease.

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As Julia Belluz reports for Vox, more than 4,000 doses of an experimental Ebola vaccine have arrived in the DRC, with another 4,000 expected to arrive in the coming days.

Signaling what one World Health Organization (WHO) official calls a "game changer" in the Democratic Republic of Congo's Ebola outbreak, tests have confirmed an infection in a patient from Mbandaka, a metropolitan area that's home to almost 1.2 million people.

There are five species of Ebola; rVSV-ZEBOV protects against a strain known as Zaire, which is the one that most commonly infects humans.

"We are doing better at response, but not much better at rapid detection, which is important", Frieden said in an email.

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. "They are our eyes and ears on the ground. So far, all of them have occurred in remote and isolated areas, as was the case past year in Likati, when the epidemic didn't spread." explains Henry Gray, MSF Emergency Coordinator in Mbandaka.