Published: Fri, August 17, 2018
Medical | By

Ebola outbreak: 41 dead in DR Congo

Ebola outbreak: 41 dead in DR Congo

The latest outbreak, which now counts 57 probable and confirmed cases of the deadly virus, is the country's 10th since 1976, when the disease was first identified in the DRC near the Ebola River.

"The other worrisome problem, especially in Mangina, is the number of health workers that are already effected with Ebola, and we have, so far, seven cases", Tedros said.

Use of the experimental treatment in the field comes on the heels of deployment of an unlicensed vaccine in the earlier Ebola outbreak in the DRC this year.

Congo has been fighting an Ebola outbreak for the past few months.

It added that doctors in Beni had started to use a novel treatment called mAb114 to treat patients with Ebola.

The "ring vaccination" approach of first vaccinating health workers, contacts of Ebola victims and their contacts might have to give way to the approach of vaccinating everyone in a certain geographic area such as a village or neighborhood.

There are already more than 3,000 vaccines on the ground, which could be bumped up to 300,000 in a short notice, Tedros said.

The work to contain Ebola is challenged by the presence of several armed groups in the densely populated region close to the Ugandan border.

"We also call on the warring parties for a cessation of hostilities because the virus is risky to all; it doesn't choose between this group or that group".

"After the visit, I am actually more anxious", Tedros said at a news conference Tuesday.

Referring to the areas where armed groups are operating, he said they could be "hiding places" for the virus.

"We are on an epidemiological precipice", WHO's emergency preparedness chief, Dr. Peter Salama, said in a Twitter post, with a limited window of opportunity to stop the outbreak from spreading into those areas.

Tedros, who visited North Kivu last week, said World Health Organization workers will find it hard to fight the virus in the so-called "red zones".

The outbreak in eastern Congo's North Kivu province has now spread to neighbouring Ituri province, where a person who was a confirmed case died after returning home from the flare-up's epicentre in the North Kivu town of Mangina, the ministry said in a statement.

"What makes the outbreak in Eastern DRC or Northern Kivu more risky, is that there is a security challenge".

Yet Tedros said Tuesday that a proposal to conduct more widespread vaccinations among people in Mangina, whether they are contacts or not, has been under consideration.

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