Thursday, 18 October, 2018

WHO's Congo Ebola plan assumes 100-300 cases over three months

An ambulance carries the remains of an Ebola victim towards a burial site in Mbandaka on May 22 An ambulance carries the remains of an Ebola victim towards a burial site in Mbandaka on May 22
Anna Jefferson | 29 May, 2018, 20:01

As of Monday Congo updated that there were 54 cases of hemorrhagic fever: 35 confirmed Ebola cases, 13 probable and six suspected.

Congo's vaccination campaign, which began in Mbandaka last week, is aimed at more than 1,000 health workers and people who have come into contact with the sick in three health zones. Several hundred people who have come into contact with infected persons are now being monitored by health authorities.

On the ground in the affected areas, in Equateur province, mistrust and misinformation are the biggest risks for the spread of the epidemic, observers say.

Congolese Health Minister Oly Ilunga Kalenga flew by helicopter to Bikoro and Iboko on Saturday to see the deployment of health workers who will be tracing people who have been in contact with Ebola cases and inoculating them with a new experimental vaccine.

Bikoro Hospital director Dr Serge Ngalebato said he and other health officials were vaccinated for protection when treating Ebola patients. There have been no deaths or new confirmed cases in the past two days. Complicating factors include its spread to a major city, that health workers are among those infected and the existence of three or four "separate epicenters", making finding and monitoring the contacts of infected people more hard.

In 2017, ALIMA treated more than 16,000 patients for malaria, conducted more than 40,000 ambulatory consultations, administered 7,3000 vaccinations and treated more than 3,000 people suffering from cholera.

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The sheer number of people in populated epicenters with separate cases of Ebola has in fact, infected health workers and this makes it very hard to monitor the contacts of infected people in these regions.

"I am personally committed to ensuring that we do everything we can to stop this outbreak as soon as possible", WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a meeting in Geneva on Saturday.

There is no specific treatment for Ebola. More than 600 contacts have been identified. Symptoms include fever, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle pain and at times internal and external bleeding.

"At the moment, World Health Organization uses the "ring vaccination" approach" to vaccinate people who came in contact with the ones infected or who are suspected to be infected and those who were in contact with the suspected.

Worldwide trade and travel restrictions have been put on high-alert and World Health Organization is working hard to prevent Ebola from spreading to nine different countries with talking closely with the country's officials.

"Some people don't believe in the Ebola virus or in the medication provided, others are afraid of it. Cases of people leaving hospitals and refusing care have been reported, which could have dramatic consequences".

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