World Health Organization calls emergency meeting on Ebola
18 May, 2018, 15:07 | Author: Kara Nash
According to DRC's Health Minister Oly Ilunga, a victim of the deadly virus has been confirmed in the northwestern city of Mbandaka, which is 150km away from the rural area where the outbreak was first detected earlier this month.
"Since the announcement of the alert in Mbandaka, our epidemiologists are working in the field with community relays to identify people who have been in contact with suspected cases".
A 2016 study found it to be 100% effective in trials in Guinea in coordination with the country's Ministry of Health after the 2014-15 outbreak.
The city of about one million people is a transport hub on the Congo River, prompting fears that the virus could now spread further, threatening the capital Kinshasa and surrounding countries. Our funding and humanitarian flight service will help get medical teams, equipment and supplies to the affected health zone which is a matter of urgency.
It raised its view of the risks after a case of Ebola was confirmed in the city of Mbandaka, which the agency said was "a large urban centre located on major national and global river, road and domestic air routes".
A ministry statement late Thursday said the 11 new confirmed cases and one new related death were reported in the town of Bikoro in Equateur Province, where the Ebola outbreak was officially announced on May 8 by authorities. There were 21 other probable cases and 10 more suspected cases of Ebola.
The scale of the previous outbreak forced several nations, including Russian Federation and China, to develop vaccines to Ebola. "We have urban Ebola, which is a very different animal from rural Ebola".
Senior WHO official Peter Salama said the spread to Mbandaka meant there was the potential for an "explosive increase" in cases.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta is also sending in a team to Congo after the initial assessment of the World Health Organization team is complete and logistical problems are listed out. And despite lingering suspicions in some of the more remote parts of Africa of western medicines, experts anticipate widespread public acceptance.
One sample proved positive for Ebola, he said. More than one team is ready to be dispatched he said and each of these would work in shifts of four to six weeks. This Wednesday, the World Health Organization has sent in 4,000 injections of an experimental vaccine that has shown promise in the clinical trials. It will also cover communication with affected communities on risks and what behaviour to take to prevent the spread of the disease including psycho-social support and preparedness for safe and dignified burials.
At least 44 people are believed to have been infected in the current outbreak and 23 deaths are being investigated.
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