Published: Wed, May 09, 2018
Medical | By Garry George

Shock Ebola outbreak in Congo - 10 new cases suspected and two confirmed

Shock Ebola outbreak in Congo - 10 new cases suspected and two confirmed

World Health Organization said in a tweet on Tuesday it received confirmation of the outbreak from Congo officials after two out of the five samples analysed in Kinshasa tested positive for Ebola.

Last week, officials in Equateur province reported more than 20 cases of hemorrhagic fever - 17 fatal - to the national government in Kinshasa, sending five clinical samples for testing.

It said since the notification of the cases on May 3, no deaths have been reported among those hospitalized or among health personnel.

The government also made a decision to deploy on Wednesday a team of experts from the central level from Kinshasa to Bikoro with a set of appropriate equipment to oversee the investigations and the organization of the response on field.

The UN health agency said it would also adopt prompt testing, immediate notification of results, and a fast overall response by local and national authorities together with worldwide partners.

An electron micrograph scan shows the Ebola virus emerging from an infected cell.

"Our top priority is to get to Bikoro to work alongside the Government and partners to reduce the loss of life and suffering related to this new Ebola virus disease outbreak". About half of those who contract Ebola die from it. That outbreak was quickly contained and was declared over in July 2017.

The worst-ever Ebola outbreak started in December 2013 in southern Guinea before spreading to two neighbouring west African countries, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Ebola occasionally jumps to humans from animals, including bats and monkeys.

It is caused by a virus that has a natural reservoir in the bat, which does not itself fall ill, but can pass the microbe on to humans who hunt it for "bushmeat".

There is no current vaccine to prevent Ebola or licensed treatment for it, although a range of experimental drugs are in development.

WHO said it was working closely with Congo's government to rapidly scale up its operations and mobilise health partners as it did successfully in Congo a year ago.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) today declared a new Ebola virus outbreak in a northwestern province, with two confirmed cases so far, coming nearly a year since the country's last outbreak began in a different remote location. "Working with partners and responding early and in a coordinated way will be vital to containing this deadly disease", he said.

"We still dispose of the well trained human resources that were able to rapidly control previous epidemics", it said.

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