Published: Sun, August 05, 2018
Medical | By

Ebola Breaks Out In Congo Conflict Zone

Ebola Breaks Out In Congo Conflict Zone

"She was buried, we believe, in an unsafe burial, in terms of Ebola standards, and seven deaths have occurred in her immediate family", announced the WHO Emergency Response Chief, Dr. Peter Salama, in Geneva.

DR Congo reported on Wednesday that a new outbreak has killed 20 people in eastern Beni in North Kivu Province.

The North Kivu outbreak comes just over a week after Congo had declared the end of an outbreak in the northwest of the country that began in May, and in which 33 people died.

Ebola is a virus-caused hemorrhagic fever that in extreme cases causes fatal bleeding from internal organs, the mouth, eyes or ears.

"It would appear that the risk, as we can surmise for DRC, is high".

The top World Health Organization official said that there was "no evidence" to suggest a link between the two outbreaks, although it appears "very likely" that they share the same deadly Zaire strain.

The organization's emergency response chief, Peter Salama, expressed concern about the regional risks this outbreak could pose - given the pattern of its spread and its closeness to worldwide frontiers.

These symptoms may be followed by diarrhoea, vomiting, troubles of the kidney and liver.

The outbreak in northwestern Congo also belonged to the Zaire strain and an experimental vaccine from pharmaceutical company Merck was used to fight its spread.

This should allow health officials to again use what has become the greatest weapon against Ebola epidemics to date.

In the latest outbreak, 26 suspected cases have been recorded with 20 fatalities in Mangina, a town 30km west of Beni. Eastern Congo is a tinderbox of conflicts over land and ethnicity stoked by decades of on-off war and this could hamper efforts to contain the virus.

The same recipe for success is required in North Kivu, but for now health workers do not know what level of access they will have to those affected, given the number of armed groups controlling different areas.

The hospital where she works has already seen three people die recently of haemorrhagic fever.

Meanwhile, Uganda has set up screening at the land border it shares with Congo and at its Entebbe global airport. Two of those cases were confirmed to be health workers.

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