Sunday, 24 June, 2018

Congo says new confirmed Ebola case; outbreak marks 1 month

Ebola Outbreak In Congo Made Another Victim Bringing The Death Toll To 27 Congo confirms another Ebola case as outbreak hits 1-month mark
Anna Jefferson | 10 June, 2018, 21:30

Today Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, PhD, director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO) said he was cautiously optimistic that the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is stabilizing, while another top WHO official said response efforts are having an impact.

Dr. Salama, the United Nations health agency's Deputy Director-General for Emergency Preparedness and Response, was fresh from a two-day visit to the DRC.

Archbishop Fridolin Ambongo Besungu, co-adjutor archbishop of Kinshasa who previously served in the Diocese of Mbandaka-Bikoro, where the outbreak occurred, made a decision to suspend administering sacraments to protect churchgoers from contracting the disease.

"There's been very strong progress in the outbreak response, particularly in relation to two of the initial three sites: Mbandaka and Bikoro", he said.

The patient, a known contact of someone believed to have died from Ebola on May 20, was confirmed positive on Wednesday for the hemorrhagic fever in the rural community of Iboko, the ministry said in a daily report.

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Over 1,800 health workers and other people who could have been exposed to the virus have received an experimental vaccine first tested in the waning days of the West Africa epidemic. "And then if there is a confirmation of a case, every contact of those cases", he explained.

The ministry also reported five new suspected cases on Thursday, including two in Mbandaka, a city of 1.5 million people. It's the identification and follow-up of all people who may have come into contact with a person infected with the infectious disease.

Phase one of the disease response was about protecting the urban centres and towns and that had gone well, Salama said, but phase two, tackling the remote forested areas, was an enormous logistical effort that would go on for weeks.

The area had no infrastructure and could be covered only by motorbike, with several hours needed to trace every contact, he said. Some of these treatments, when given as late as day five of symptoms, led to high protection in monkeys, he said, adding that the choice of product for each patient will be decided by clinicians.

"We're cautiously optimistic but there's a lot of work", said Salama.

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