Published: Tue, May 16, 2017
Sci-tech | By Jackie Newman

There's A New Ebola Outbreak In Central Africa

There's A New Ebola Outbreak In Central Africa

The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared an Ebola outbreak in the DRC on Friday, saying that at least one person had been confirmed dead due to the virus in the country's north-east.

Following the WHO announcement, the government of Tanzania has issued a health alert calling on citizens to remain vigilant even as the Tanzanian Health Ministry said it was monitoring the recent outbreak closely.

The UN agency said Saturday there are now 11 suspected cases, including three reported deaths, in Likati in Congo's northern Bas-Uele Province. The West Africa epidemic, which took more than 11,000 lives, was by far the biggest, but there have been other smaller outbreaks in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This includes addressing outbreaks, man-made and natural disasters, and public health events of regional and global concern. The first case was reported April 22 after a 39-year-old man became sick and took a taxi took a nearby hospital.

The 2014 Ebola outbreak prompted investigations into the worldwide response and revealed findings that were less than promising for future outbreaks of Ebola or similar diseases.

Even though there has only been a single confirmed case, as the co-discoverer of Ebola, Peter Piot, has said: "All epidemics start with one case".

"This outbreak resulted in a total of 38 laboratory-confirmed cases and 28 probable cases, including 49 deaths in the Boende, Equateur province". The West African Ebola virus epidemic killed more than 10,000 people between 2013 and 2016.

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This is the eighth outbreak of Ebola virus disease in DRC since its discovery in 1976.

A year after the deadliest Ebola outbreak ever in Africa, the virus has returned. Of the tests so far carried out, only one has tested positive for the Zaire subtype Ebola virus (a different strain to the 2014 epidemic), though the results from other tests are now being awaited.

The last outbreak of Ebola in Congo was in 2014 and dozens of people died. "Remember, this is not the first time that we have had to prepare for Ebola, so we have just reactivated our systems we already had in place".

Dr Malama appealed to members of the public to partner with the ministry, the same way they did when Ebola broke out in some West African countries in 2015, to prevent its spread.

In January 2016, World Health Organization declared the end of a two-year Ebola epidemic across Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea that led to 28,000 people being infected with the virus.

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