Ebola: 362 people under surveillance in North West DRC

by Noah Mcgee May 15, 2018, 15:05
Ebola: 362 people under surveillance in North West DRC

"The WHO is strengthening its presence, positioning a dozen epidemiologists who will be divided on the axes of Mbandaka, Bikoro and Iboko to investigate alerts", its Congo representative, Allarangar Yokouide, said.

Scientists fear it may be a "public-health emergency" after an Ebola pandemic killed at least 11,000 when it decimated West Africa between 2014 and 2016. Called ring vaccination, it calls for vaccinating people who have been in contact with patients, and contacts of contacts.

Direct Relief is closely monitoring this outbreak situation in conjunction with healthcare partners at the UCLA-DRC Health Research and Training Program which is conducting Ebola virus research at the Institute National de Recherche Biomedicale.

W.H.O's director-general Tedros Adhanon Ghebryeyesus has visited the region, where 35 suspected cases have been reported so far, more than half of them fatal.

The area's near the Congo River, which carries people to the capital of the DRC, Kinshasa; as well as to the Republic of the Congo and to the Central African Republic. Three healthcare workers are reportedly also sickened with the disease.

Health workers may have a new weapon in their arsenal to fight the current epidemic: the Merck-manufactured rVSV-ZEBOV vaccine.

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Although the DRC outbreak is of a different strain, the experimental vaccine is still thought to be safe and effective.

Tedros led a WHO delegation that included Matshidiso Moeti, MD, WHO regional director for Africa, and Peter Salama, MD, WHO deputy director-general, emergency preparedness and response. "We have better weapons this time".

In addition, an experimental ebola vaccine, which was developed during the 2014 to 2016 Ebola epidemic but was too late to make an impact, will be deployed by the World Health Organization in the DRC. Seventeen of those 21 infected people died.

The virus is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission, either through direct contact with bodily fluids such as blood or secretions or contact with materials that are contaminated with these liquids. The virus is not spread through the air or by water.

Signs of Ebola include fever, headache, feeling the pain in different parts of the body, weak body, vomiting excessively and bleeding from any of the body holes. CFRs typically hover around 50 percent, although children under the age of 5 are much more likely to die as a result of exposure to the virus.

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