Wednesday, 19 December, 2018

Congo Ebola Outbreak Becomes Second-Worst In History, IRC Says

Image  DRC MOH Image DRC MOH
| 02 December, 2018, 12:43

Global health experts are urging the Trump administration to allow USA government disease specialists to return to northeastern Congo to help fight the second-largest Ebola outbreak in history.

"If the (U.S.) ban were not in place, the CDC would have a big and growing presence here", said Mearns, who worked closely with the CDC in West Africa's Ebola outbreak.

DRC's health ministry said the number of confirmed and probable cases has reached 426, edging past the Uganda outbreak in 2000.

By comparing how well these work, scientists will be moving towards curing the disease and slashing the death tolls in future outbreaks. Ebola cases have also been recorded in neighboring Ituri province.

Armed groups have kidnapped and killed people trying to treat the sick, and ongoing conflict has made locals suspicious of official health workers.

Ebola virus disease, which causes an often-fatal type of hemorrhagic fever, is endemic to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

"This tragic milestone clearly demonstrates the complexity and severity of the outbreak", Michelle Gayer, Senior Director of Emergency Health at the International Rescue Committee said in a statement.


Malaria can normally be diagnosed with a rapid blood test, but the risk of Ebola transmission means health workers have to rely on an assessment of symptoms, he said. Some field activities, including vaccination, were temporarily halted in Beni, the outbreak's epicenter, on November 17 following attacks by an armed rebel group.

Mr Hoyer said: "We can assume that the suspected Ebola cases to be triaged would at least go down by half".

"No other epidemic in the world has been as complex as the one we are now experiencing", the Congolese health minister, Dr. Oly Ilunga Kalenga, said in a November 9 statement.

Given the complications, this outbreak will last at least another six months before it can be contained, World Health Organization emergencies chief Dr Peter Salama has predicted.

Ebola has killed 240 people and infected more than 400 in the DRC since July this year in an outbreak that shows little sign of abating. "Is there potential for requiring worldwide response?"

Dr Ghebreyesus added: 'We honour the memory of those who have died battling this outbreak, and deplore the continuing threats on the security of those still working to end it'.

This is what happened in Sierra Leone's capital, Freetown, when people with malaria were filling Ebola treatment centres during the West African outbreak in 2014, he said.

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