World Health Organization to know soon if new Congo Ebola outbreak can use vaccine

Leslie Hanson
August 5, 2018

Nine days after an Ebola outbreak in Equateur province in the western part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) was officially declared over, four new cases have been confirmed by the DRC's Ministry of Health.

Four cases of the virus were confirmed in northeastern North Kivu province, the DRC's health minister said in a statement on Wednesday, though there was no indication they were linked to the country's previous - and ninth - Ebola outbreak in northwestern Equateur Province. Another 20 people died from unidentified haemorrhagic fevers in July.

Ever since it was discovered near the Ebola River in northern Congo, the country has seen 10 outbreaks of the virus since 1976, nearly twice as many epidemics as other nations.

"It would appear that the risk, as we can surmise for DRC, is high".

Salama said the "signal event" in this new outbreak was the death of a 65-year-old woman who had been admitted to the hospital in Mangina. Ebola is a constant threat in the Democratic Republic of Congo as the virus thrives in heavily forested areas. "This may involve the quick delivery of support, clean water and information, as well as assisting with the safe and dignified burials of people who have died which is critical for containing the spread of the virus".

"I was hit with fear not only about whether my health would be attacked by Ebola, but also how I'm going to feed my family without our Mangina field because all the roads leading to Mangina have been quarantined by the health officials", he said.

The WHO said the presence of armed groups and the wide-distance spread of the disease, could make vaccination "near impossible" in North Kivu.

Agents were deployed to warn people about the need for strict hygiene and the local radio station passed on messages about how to act, a local journalist said by phone. The average case fatality rate of the Ebola virus as stated by the World Health Organisation is 50%.

The Ministry has also reactivated surveillance teams and task forces at Uganda's different border points with Congo to control movements and conduct screening for those entering the country.

Dr Salama said more than 30 WHO staff members are on site in Beni, where the organization has classified the crisis as a Level 3 Emergency.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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