Published: Fri, May 11, 2018
Medicine | By Daryl Nelson

Congo confirms one dead from Ebola, 11 others infected

Congo confirms one dead from Ebola, 11 others infected

The health ministry said on Tuesday that at least 17 people had died in an area of northwestern Democratic Republic of Congo where health officials have now confirmed an outbreak of Ebola, although it did not give a time-frame for the deaths.

Jean Jack Muyembe, head of the national institute for biological research in the DRC, today confirmed the two cases and 10 more suspected.

"Our country is facing a new epidemic of Ebola that is a public health emergency of global concern".

Adewole explained, "Of course, of great concern to the Federal Executive Council is the outbreak of Ebola in DR Congo".

The DRC authorities further reported 21 other cases of fever accompanied with uncontrolled bleeding which is the disease's main symptom in Equateur province.

The Ebola virus is transmitted to humans from wild animals (monkeys, bats) and spreads in populations by human-to-human transmission: through direct contact with blood, secretions, organs or body fluids of infected persons or with surfaces or materials contaminated by this type of liquid, the World Health Organization explains.

The WHO is now working with the Congo's government and released $1 million from its Contingency Fund for Emergencies to scale and mobilize an emergency response to contain the current outbreak.

Ebola outbreak declared in Democratic Republic of Congo
A fresh outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) has been confirmed in Bikoro in Equateur Province of Democratic Republic of Congo . This is the ninth outbreak of the disease in the country since 1976, according to WHO .

Ebola is endemic to Congo, a vast country whose eastern Ebola river gave the deadly virus its name when it was discovered there in the 1970s.

The latest outbreak comes less than a year after the DRC's last recorded Ebola outbreak in May last year.

Ebola is often fatal if untreated.

Dr Peter Salama, WHO deputy director general, said: 'Our top priority is to get to Bikoro to work alongside the Government of the DRC and partners to reduce the loss of life and suffering related to this new Ebola virus disease outbreak.

Ebola spreads to humans from animals such as bats, monkeys etc.

The WHO said that it is working closely with the DRC government to contain the spread of the viral disease. "The generous support from Wellcome and partners like DFID and GloPID-R in combination with WHO's Contingency Fund for Emergencies is already making a difference".

It revealed that very high proportions of potentially affected populations would need to be protected by vaccination to establish herd immunity, i.e. the level of immunity that prevents virus transmission within a population.

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