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Published: Sat, May 12, 2018
Medical | By Garry George

Nigeria increases airport screenings after Ebola outbreak in Congo

Nigeria increases airport screenings after Ebola outbreak in Congo

Congo notified the World Health Organization of the outbreak on May 8, and there have been around 32 suspected, probable or confirmed cases of the deadly disease since April 4, including 18 deaths, Salama said. The last Ebola outbreak in RC Congo broke out in 2017 but was quickly contained due to timely alert and joint efforts by the government, WHO, and other worldwide partners. Nine other suspected cases were announced on Thursday.

The ministry is considering deploying an experimental vaccine, which the government authorized during last year's outbreak but never used, Ilunga said.

Earlier in the week, former Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance chief Jeremy Konyndyk told The Hill that the funds should stay in place in case of a new outbreak. Despite it occurring outside an urban area, this particular outbreak may be harder to contain because it has already spread across 56 kilometres.

Reports say World Health Organization is moving quickly, having been criticised for bungling its response to a 2014-2016 outbreak that killed more than 11,300 people in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

Ebola, a haemorrhagic fever, is considered one of the most lethal pathogens in existence.

"We know from previous outbreaks that the D.R.C.is ready to act, but they need global support to ensure this outbreak is contained effectively", said Dr. Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust.

The VSV-EBOV vaccine, developed in Canada and licensed by NewLink Genetics and Merck, was shown to be highly effective in a ring vaccination trial in Guinea during West Africa's outbreak.

Ebola, discovered in 1976 and named after Congo's northern Ebola River, is contracted by humans through contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected animals, typically fruit bats, chimpanzees, gorillas and monkeys. Without preventive measures, the virus can spread quickly between people and is fatal in up to 90 percent of cases. The virus killed at least 11,000 people across six countries, including a single fatality in the U.S. The worldwide response to that crisis was criticised for moving too slowly, prompting an apology from the WHO.

Democratic Republic of Congo's health ministry said it had dispatched a team of 12 experts to the northwest to try to trace new contacts of the disease, identify the epicentre and all affected villages and provide resources.

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