Tackling Ebola outbreak in remote Congo presents huge challenge
Tackling Ebola outbreak in remote Congo presents huge challenge
Ebola: FG sets up 10-man medical c'ttee to tackle outbreak
19 May, 2017, 04:32
The number of suspected cases of Ebola has risen to 18 from nine in almost a week in an isolated part of Democratic Republic of Congo, where three have died from the disease since April 22, the World Health Organization said Thursday.
So far, two cases of the virus have been confirmed in a laboratory while 18 others are suspected in the remote Bas-Uele province, an equatorial forest zone near the Central African Republic.
Adewale also disclosed that the cases of the meningitis scourge in the country had dropped though "there is still a challenge in treating the infected persons after difficulties in diagnosing them at the first instance".
Peter Salama, the WHO's executive director for health emergencies, said the agency's risk assessment on the outbreak was that it is high at a national level, medium at regional level and low at global level.
The first six months of the response to the outbreak are expected to cost the World Health Organization and aid groups $10 million, Salama said at the briefing.
Mohney G. New Ebola outbreak leaves 3 dead in Democratic Republic of Congo [news release].
He also said there are only 20 kilometres of paved roads in that area and virtually no functional telecommunications.
Throughout the briefing both officials emphasized the extreme remoteness of the Lakati health province, the epicenter of the current outbreak.
"We believe that the DRC's government has strong experience ... and a proven track record of handling Ebola outbreaks", Salama said. Their immediate priority is to follow the 400 plus contacts of the suspected Ebola cases.
Meanwhile, the first Ebola treatment centre has been established in the Likati General Hospital.
But the World Health Organization and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, told STAT that preparations to have the experimental vaccine ready for use are being made on a parallel track with investigations in DRC into the scale of the outbreak.
"We've also learned never, ever to underestimate the Ebola virus disease".
An experimental vaccine has been developed since the West African epidemic in 2014-2016 that left more than 11,000 people dead, but World Health Organization said it is still awaiting permission from the Congolese government to use it. "A team of experts is on standby for deployment to respond to the emergency based on the needs on the ground as we work on the modalities with the government authorities in the DRC and coordinate with the [World Health Organization] and partners". "[We are] putting all these preparations in place so it can go at that speed as soon as we get the green light". "I'm very optimistic it is going to get us to where we'd like to be: a controlled, short-lived outbreak of Ebola as they have seen in the past in this country".
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