Published: Fri, May 11, 2018
Medical | By

Northwest Congo hospital has four new suspected Ebola cases

Northwest Congo hospital has four new suspected Ebola cases

The outbreak declaration was made after laboratory results confirmed two cases of Ebola out of a sample of five suspected patients, World Health Organization said.

"Twenty-one cases of fever with haemorrhagic indications and 17 deaths" have been recorded in Equateur province, it said, citing a notification to the ministry as of May 3.

Serge Ngaleto, the director of Bikoro's main hospital said it had received four new suspected cases on Thursday, including two nurses who had treated others showing symptoms.

The agency was criticised for its slow response to the 2014-2016 Ebola outbreak in Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone, which was the largest in history.

In the past five weeks, there have been 27 suspected viral Ebola virus cases in the area, including 17 deaths.

Sawyer, a Liberian-American, died at a local hospital and infected several health workers including Stella Ameyo Adedavoh, a doctor who defied orders to allow him to leave the hospital and saved Nigeria from a mass outbreak in the process. The team includes experts with previous experience in responding to the Ebola outbreaks in West Africa in 2014 and in the DRC in 2017.

The ministry made a formal alert to health providers outlining the measure to take including increasing surveillance and preparedness on Wednesday, May 9.

According to reports, the first multidisciplinary team comprised of experts from WHO, Médecins Sans Frontières and Provincial Division of Health has already been sent to Bikoro to strengthen coordination and investigations.

Ebola is believed to be spread over long distances by bats, which can host the virus without dying, as it infects other animals it shares trees with such as monkeys.

This is the ninth outbreak of the hemorrhagic fever in the DRC since 1976.

Ebola is most feared for the internal and external bleeding it can cause in its victims owing to damage done to blood vessels. The disease shows early symptoms similar to other diseases like typhoid and malaria-fever, headache, muscle pain and chills-and this makes it hard to identify it in its initial phases. It adds, "Symptoms of Ebola may appear anywhere from 2 to 21 days after exposure to the virus".

Ikoko Impenge and Bikoro, however, lie not far from the banks of the Congo River, an essential waterway for transport and commerce.

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