Ebola outbreak in Congo: Are we better prepared this time?

Mass vaccination not enough to prevent Ebola outbreak

Mass vaccination not enough to prevent Ebola outbreak

The WHO is still waiting on approval from the DRC to use the experimental Ebola vaccine, but plans for deployment are already under way as officials wait for a formal decision from the country's health ministry.

The government has moved to assure that no case of Ebola has been reported in the country despite a recent outbreak of the unsafe virus in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Health officials are concerned that the virus could spread into the Republic of Congo or the Central African Republic as travellers cross the Congo river.

The White House said the funds were dormant and unnecessary given that the outbreak, which was far more severe and widespread than the current one, has been contained for years. The team will also set up an active case search and contact tracing, establish Ebola treatment units to care for patients, set up mobile labs, and engage the community on safe practices. "We are kickstarting this response by using our stocks from the 2017 Ebola outbreak".

At least 18 people have died of suspected haemorrhagic fever in an outbreak that was first confirmed on 8 May in Bikoro health zone, a remote part of the country. Lab results are pending on the other nine cases which are suspected to be Ebola.

"It is too early to judge the extent of this outbreak", said Dr Peter Salama, WHO Deputy Director-General for Emergency Preparedness and Response.

This is the ninth Ebola outbreak in Congo since 1976, when the deadly disease was first identified. Another 32 cases of patients with Ebola-like symptoms have been reported, including three health workers.

The UN health agency is hoping to avert an epidemic like the West Africa outbreak in 2014.

Therefore, vigilance has to be raised at airports, seaports and at all entry points for screening passengers from the affected region.

A team from World Health Organization and its partners is already on the ground, personal protective equipment has already been deployed, and a surge team of 20 to 40 World Health Organization outbreak specialists is set to arrive.

After the catastrophic 2014 outbreak, Obama went to Congress and passed a $5.4 billion package of funding for dealing with any possible Ebola outbreak.

NCDC added that when infected, a person with Ebola may present with symptoms such as sudden high fever, severe headache, muscle pain, weakness, fatigue, diarrhoea, vomiting and abdominal pain.

Unfortunately, there are no approved drugs to treat Ebola, although a vaccine has been tested in humans with some success.

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