Published: Fri, May 18, 2018
Health Care | By Belinda Paul

Congo's Ebola outbreak reports 1st confirmed urban case

Congo's Ebola outbreak reports 1st confirmed urban case

An outbreak of Ebola has been declared in Equateur province, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Peter Salama, the WHO's deputy director general of emergency preparedness and response called this confirmed case of Ebola a "game changer" because it would dramatically increase the speed of spread of the outbreak.

The WHO revised its assessment of the risk of spread of the epidemic to "very high" at the national level and "high" for neighbouring countries.

A panel will decide on Friday whether to declare a "public health emergency of global concern", which would trigger a larger response. There were 21 other probable cases and 10 more suspected cases of Ebola. That brings to three the number of confirmed Ebola cases.

There has been a confirmed case of Ebola in the Mbandaka city of Congo that has a population of 1.2 million.

"All must be done to isolate the Ebola cases, especially since there has been a case in Mbandaka city", said EU Humanitarian Aid Commissioner, Christos Stylianides.

Other cases in this outbreak "have been detected in more isolated areas, giving authorities a better chance of ring-fencing the virus", The Guardian reports.

"Depending on the need, we may be preparing for a longer term", said CDC epidemiologist Pierre Rollin, an Ebola expert who was in West Africa during the 2014 epidemic. "WHO and our partners are taking decisive action to stop further spread of the virus".

The U.N. agency is also partnering with nongovernmental organizations, including Médecins Sans Frontières, to ensure that health facilities are ready to treat patients in isolation wards. It's deploying about 30 experts to conduct surveillance in the city and inform local communities on treatment and prevention methods in collaboration with the country's Ministry of Health.

The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said the first suspected victim was a police officer who died in a health center in the village of Ikoki-Impenge, near Bikoro.

"This outbreak is very close to the Republic of Congo and Central African Republic". Moreover, WHO said that no restrictions have issued on worldwide travel.

The Ebola virus disease, which most commonly affects people and nonhuman primates such as monkeys, gorillas and chimpanzees, is caused by one of five Ebola viruses.

Ebola is notoriously hard to contain, though recent outbreaks in Congo have been managed swiftly by the World Health Organization and Congolese health officials, gaining the government there a reputation as one of the continent's most prepared.

In this photo taken Saturday, May 12, health workers don protective clothing as they prepare to attend to suspected Ebola patients at Bikoro Hospital in Bikoro, Congo.

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