Medicine

New Ebola Outbreak in Congo

New Ebola Outbreak in Congo

Seventeen people in northwest Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have died from Ebola, the health ministry said on Tuesday, describing the fresh outbreak as a "public health emergency with global impact".

Scientists confirmed Ebola in two out of five specimens collected from patients, though it is gathering more, since the outbreak could be more widespread.

Since that time, no deaths have been reported among those hospitalised or among health workers treating the ill, it said.

The government also chose to deploy on Wednesday a team of experts from the central level from Kinshasa to Bikoro with a set of appropriate equipment to oversee the investigations and the organization of the response on field.

"Our country is facing another epidemic of the Ebola virus, which constitutes an global public health emergency", Congo's health ministry said.

Recall that in the summer of 2017, the outbreak of Ebola in DR Congo ceased.

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The deadly disease is very rare and is caused by one of the five Ebola viruses.

Bikoro is located on the shores of Lake Tumba close to the border with the Republic of the Congo.

"We are going to collect extra samples, conduct contact tracing, have interaction the communities with messages on prevention and management, and put in place strategies for enhancing knowledge assortment and sharing", stated Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO's regional director for Africa.

All the cases were reported from a clinic at Ilkoko Iponge, located about 30 kilometres from Bikoro, where treatment capacities are limited, the World Health Organization said. The virus can be spread from human to human or can be transmitted to people from animals, according to WHO. The last Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo occurred in 2017 in Likati Health Zone, Bas Uele Province, in the northern part of the country and was quickly contained thanks to joint efforts by the Government of DRC, WHO and many different partners.

Peter Salama, MBBS, MPH, WHO deputy director-general for emergency preparedness and response, said in the statement that the top priority is to get to Bikoro to work with the DRC government and its partners to reduce deaths and illnesses related to the new Ebola outbreak. The organization released $1 million from a Contingency Fund for Emergencies in order to help stop the spread.

The head of the national institute for biological research, Jean Jack Muyembe, said the cases had been reported in the northwestern town of Bikoro.


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