Published: Fri, May 11, 2018
Medicine | By Brett Sutton

Congo says another dies from suspected Ebola infection

Congo says another dies from suspected Ebola infection

The Kenyan Government has upped screening tests at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) and other points of entry as a precautionary measure following an outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a joint statement from the ministries of Health and Tourism said on Friday. Three of the 32 cases were among healthcare workers.

Ebola's potential to spread rapidly is the reason it's essential to have dedicated officials coordinating a response to an outbreak - before it turns into a deadly epidemic or pandemic.

Deputy Director-General of Emergency Preparedness and Response Peter Salama on Friday told a regular United Nations briefing in Geneva that he hoped the Democratic Republic of Congo would give the green light within days for the deployment of an experimental vaccine, but warned that the drug was complicated to use and was not a magic bullet. The agency has now alerted neighboring areas as well. As an added measure, it will also provide DRC with supplies such as personal protective equipment.

One million USA dollars from the World Health Organization contingency fund for emergencies have been mobilized.

CNN reported that there have been a total of 21 suspected cases and 17 deaths in the past five weeks, and the current outbreak has already surpassed the numbers from the 2017 epidemic.

Nigeria's airports, seaports and land borders have been placed on high alert after the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) declared an outbreak of Ebola this week.

Congo's health ministry on Tuesday, May 8, described the fresh outbreak as a "public health emergency with worldwide impact". That outbreak, the worst in history, killed approximately 11,310 people.

"WHO will work closely with health authorities and partners to support the national response". Fatality rates have varied from 25% to 90% in past outbreaks, with an average fatality rate around 50%.

This is the ninth time Ebola has been recorded in the Democratic Republic of Congo since the disease made its first known appearance - near the vast central African country's northern Ebola river - in the 1970s. "There are no deaths yet, but all of the sick are presenting signs of fever, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain and intense fatigue".

"If we see a town of that size infected with Ebola, then we are going to have a major urban outbreak", Salama warned. Medline adds that some of the other symptoms include rashes and red eyes.

"I want to assure Kenyans and all travelers to Kenya that there is no Ebola case reported in the country, and adequate measures have been put to place to ensure that the Ebola virus is not introduced or imported to the Country", said Balala. The cases so far have been on a lake port, which means it's possible an infected person could have traveled to a larger city.

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