WHO alerts latest Ebola outbreak in DRC — Social News XYZ

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ebola-unGeneva, May 13 (IANS) The World Health Organization (WHO) warned on Saturday that stopping the latest Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) will be a serious, tough and costly challenge, which requires preparedness for all scenarios.

WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus is scheduled to travel to DR Congo over the weekend to take stock of the situation and direct the continuing response in support of the national health authorities.

“WHO staff were in the team that first identified the outbreak. I myself am on my way to the DRC to assess the needs first-hand,” Xinhua quoted Tedros as saying.

“I’m in contact in the Minister of health and have assured him that we’re ready to do all that’s needed to stop the spread of Ebola quickly. We are working with our partners to send more staff, equipment and supplies to the area.”

An outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in Bikoro health zone, Equateur Province, was declared four days ago.

The location is 250 km from Mbandaka, capital of Equateur Province in an area of the country that is that is very hard to reach.

As of Friday, 34 Ebola cases have been reported in the area in the past five weeks, including two confirmed, 18 probable (deceased) and 14 suspected cases. Five samples were collected from five patients and two have been confirmed by the laboratory.

“This is the country’s ninth Ebola outbreak and there is considerable expertise in-country,” Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, was quoted as saying.

“However, any country facing such a threat may require international assistance.”

The current response plan to the outbreak includes surveillance, case investigation, and contact tracing; community engagement and social mobilisation; case management and infection prevention and control; safe and dignified burials; research response including the use of ring vaccination and antivirals; and coordination and operations support.

“It is too early to judge the extent of this outbreak,” said Dr Peter Salama, WHO deputy director-general for Emergency Preparedness and Response.

“However, early signs including the infection of three health workers, the geographical extent of the outbreak, the proximity to transport routes and population centres, and the number of suspected cases indicate that stopping this outbreak will be a serious challenge. This will be tough and it will be costly. We need to be prepared for all scenarios,” he added.

For now the WHO has listed the risks to surrounding countries as moderate, and has already alerted those countries and is working with them on border surveillance and preparedness for potential outbreaks.

via WHO alerts latest Ebola outbreak in DRC — Social News XYZ

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#Breaking “Worst case scenario” predicted for latest outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo

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USAfricaLIVE

The World Health Organisation says it is preparing for “the worst case scenario” in a fresh outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo. WHO has recorded 32 suspected or confirmed cases in Bikoro, including 18 deaths, between April 4 and May 9. The cases include three healthcare workers, one of whom has died. This is the country’s ninth known outbreak of Ebola since 1976, when the disease was ærst identiæed in then-Zaire by a Belgian-led team.ebola-un.png

Efforts to contain the latest outbreak have been hampered because the affected region of the country is very remote. “There are very few paved roads, very little electriæcation, access is extremely difæcult… It is basically 15 hours by motorbike from the closest town,” WHO’s head of emergency response Peter Salama said. Cases have already been reported in three separate locations around Bikoro, and Mr Salama warned there was a clear risk the disease could spread to more densely populated areas.

WHO is particularly concerned about the virus reaching Mbandaka, which has around one million inhabitants and is only a few hours away from Bikoro. “If we see a town of that size infected with Ebola, then we are going to have a major urban outbreak,” Mr Salama warned. The organisation has a team on the ground and is preparing to send up to 40 more specialists to the region in the coming week or so.

Nigeria’s government this week ordered that travellers from DR Congo should be screened as an additional security measure after the fresh outbreak was confirmed, but the request was rejected by Nigeria’s health workers’ unions, who have been striking since April 18 over pay and conditions. The country does not share a border with DR Congo but memories are still fresh of an Ebola outbreak in 2014 that killed seven people out of 19 confirmed cases.

ref: AFP