First Death in New Ebola Outbreak Confirmed in Congo


Corrects paragraph one of Thursday's story to show death and other new cases of illness in Congo are suspected to be Ebola but have not been confirmed.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) is assisting the DRC in managing the outbreak.

It is nearly certain that we won't see a repeat of the 2014-16 West African epidemic that claimed 11,000 lives, but healthcare experts needs to act swiftly, nonetheless.

Salama emphasized that the vaccination operation for Ebola is far more complex than that for orally-administered polio vaccine. Most theories involve the country's large forested areas, and the possibility that infected fruit bats-widely believed to be the primary reservoir animal for the disease-are common in the affected areas. But before the vaccine could be rolled out, the virus was stopped by methods used in earlier outbreaks - health workers in protective gear isolating the sick and burying the dead. But the British and US organizations are not yet part of the formal response on the ground.

Ebola is a highly infectious disease spread through body contact with an infected person. Ebola infection could look like malaria or typhoid fever, for example.

The risk of an Ebola outbreak in the United Kingdom remains negligible, it added.

Similar measures helped it contain the virus during the West African epidemic that began in 2013.

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"Public health emergency of global concern" means an extraordinary event which is determined, as provided in these Regulations: "(i) to constitute a public health risk to other States through the worldwide spread of disease and (ii) to potentially require a coordinated worldwide response".

Guinea, Sierra Leone and also Liberia have recorded lethal outbreaks of this disorder inside the past four years.

Already 17 people have died in the northern DRC Congo following the outbreak of the deadly virus. And in 2017, the DRC experienced another outbreak of eight cases.

"Community volunteers and groups are critical to stopping the spread of disease, especially in isolated areas, such as the epicentre of this current outbreak", said Dr Nafo-Traoré.

This is the ninth outbreak of Ebola virus disease in the DRC since the discovery of the virus in the country in 1976.

The scaling up of the latest response has been much quicker and looks much different than that in West Africa's outbreak, Salama said.

Although the DRC is resource poor, along with the WHO, MSF and Africa CDC, they are experience rich. Vaccinations cost $15-$20 per dose and 462 million people live in regions impacted by Ebola outbreaks. But swift action is needed.