World Health Organization says Ebola outbreak in Congo is stabilizing

10 June, 2018, 21:29 | Author: Sherman Richardson
  • Congo confirms another Ebola case as outbreak hits 1-month mark

Kinshasa, Jun 7 (Prensa Latina) The Ministry of Health announced today that it held an awareness day with 50 traditional doctors (healers) seeking support in the fight against the Ebola epidemic in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

This comes as an AP Friday report indicated that the pace of new Ebola cases has slowed down one month after the outbreak was officially declared.

The Ministry of Health, together with the World Health Organization (WHO), Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), and other worldwide organizations, have been carrying out a vaccination campaign in the three areas for the past two weeks, and about 1,400 people have already been vaccinated.

Ebola virus disease, which causes fever, severe headache and in some cases hemorrhaging, most commonly affects people and nonhuman primates, such as monkeys, gorillas and chimpanzees.

Four of the five approved drugs are now in the country.

Dr. Peter Salama of the World Health Organization (WHO) told journalists in Geneva that the first phase - protecting urban centres and towns - "has gone well, and we can be cautiously optimistic".

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"What this is telling us is the response (the WHO's vaccination program) is having an impact in those two locations", said Salama.

Mbandaka, in northwest DRC, has a population of around one million, and it is the capital of Equateur province, where the small town of Bikoro also is located. Bikoro health zone and Wangata health zone both reported their last confirmed case in mid-May. The newest confirmed case is in rural Iboko and is linked to a probable Ebola death on May 20, the ministry said.

While Ebola's spread to a major city has complicated efforts to track all contacts of those infected, the presence of the virus in Iboko poses another world of problems. It's a "major boots on the ground" effort that takes several hours to trace each and every contact, he said.

On the front lines of the outbreak, health officials use a tool called contact tracing to break the chain of transmission of the Ebola virus.

The Catholic Church in Congo said emergency measures will remain indefinitely in place in parishes at risk of Ebola, and urged effective action against the disease by the government of President Joseph Kabila. "And we've learned the hard way in the past never to underestimate Ebola".

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