Medicine

New Ebola cases reported as World Health Organization head visits DRC

New Ebola cases reported as World Health Organization head visits DRC”

DRC has seen 18 deaths over the past five weeks, but Congolese authorities together with the World Health Organization (WHO) and other global groups have now mobilized staff and resources to contain the virus.

The Democratic Republic of Congo is to receive 4,000 doses of Ebola vaccine secured by the World Health Organization as the it prepares to deploy them.

The outbreak, which is believed to have started at least five weeks ago, was officially declared on May 8 after the DRC health ministry confirmed two positive tests from among a number of suspected Ebola cases in Bikoro and a village called Ikoko-Impenge, about 40 miles away.

The Director General of the World Health Organisation says the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) officials have agreed to use an experimental Ebola vaccine. To date, 393 potential Ebola-carrying contacts have been identified and are being followed-up with. Meanwhile information about the outbreak in towns like Bikoro, Iboko and Wangata health zones in Equateur province was still limited, according to the WHO.

"This outbreak is very close to the Republic of Congo and Central African Republic". The 2014-2016 outbreak in West Africa involved major urban areas as well as rural ones.

Plus healthcare workers have been infected, and Salama said infected healthcare workers can spread the virus to people they are caring for.

Any other persons with potential exposure to Ebola, such as laboratory workers, surveillance and contact teams, will also be vaccinated.

"This is an experimental vaccine, not a licensed product, and there are a lot of complications", including ensuring it is stored at the correct temperature, Salama said. In addition, the United Nations granted $2 million and the Welcome Trust provided £2 million pounds ($2.71 million) for research needs.

Transporting the vaccines to the affected area would be logistically challenging.

The disease is believed to be hosted by bats but the blood and bodily fluids of animals is how the disease is thought to have transmitted to humans.

M-decins Sans Fronti-res has set up four five-bed mobile isolation units to increase the hospital bed capacity in Bikoro, which is now 15 beds.

A cordon ribbon is seen around the isolation ward at Bikoro hospital in the Democratic Republic of Congo. On May 13, the WHO delivered two shipments from Geneva and Dubai with more than 30 tonnes of equipment, including Personal Protective Equipment kits, Interagency Emergency Health Kits, boxes for transportation, and body bags.



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