Ebola outbreak spreads to urban area as deaths mount

Ebola outbreak spreads to urban area as deaths mount

Ebola outbreak spreads to urban area as deaths mount

Democratic Republic of Congo's latest Ebola outbreak has spread to a city of more than 1 million people, a worrying shift as the deadly virus risks traveling more easily in densely populated areas. "This is evidenced by the fact that the current outbreak probably started in early April, but it was not officially declared until May 8th". Three of those cases have tested positive for the Ebola virus; the rest are likely to have Ebola as well, though laboratories have yet to confirm the virus's presence.

Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said it was a concerning development. Health officials have identified 42 suspected, probable and confirmed cases, and 23 people have died.

Doctors Without Borders (MSF), quoting local officials, said 514 people were believed to have been in contact with Ebola patients and were now being monitored.

Health experts have identified 500 contacts of the cases and they are now being traced, Ilunga said.

Additionally, the World Health Organization confirmed 4,000 doses of Merck's Ebola vaccine rVSV-ZEBOV are being sent to Bikoro. It involves vaccinating voluntary contacts, contacts of those contacts and health care and other front-line workers.

The outbreak of cholera in Malawi continues insidiously, with active transmission taking place in the urban Lilongwe District.

There are five species of Ebola; rVSV-ZEBOV protects against a strain known as Zaire, which is the one that most commonly infects humans.

In addition to the financing allocated specifically for disease surveillance, further funds could also be activated using the Contingent Emergency Response Component (CERC) of the World Bank's overall health system investments.

"But it is a cost that is worth investing now, because we know from Ebola West Africa experience that that cost the worldwide community between $3-4 billion" in addition to the death toll, he said.

Another difference from 2014 is that the World Health Organization has set aside emergency money to get experts in place to contain a new outbreak.

Teams from MSF are have set up an isolation zone in the city's main hospital and are building two Ebola treatment centres with 20 beds each in Mbandaka and Bikoro, reports The Telegraph.

There are several types of hemorrhagic fever in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the health ministry noted; thus, not all suspected cases are necessarily Ebola. The agency is also operating daily flights to race supplies and support staff from Kinshasa. The centers have hand-washing stations, where water mixed with bleach kills the virus. Ebola notably spread in the West Point area of Liberia's capital, Monrovia.

"We are very concerned, and we are planning for all scenarios, including the worst case scenario".

"This does change the way we need to respond", Peter Salama, WHO's medical emergency programme head told Reuters TV in Geneva. "The government and the population must. get rid of all the dirt". Bikoro is on a lake that feeds into rivers that connect to Kinshasa, Brazzaville and other cities.

It will hold an emergency meeting on Friday to consider the global risks posed by the first urban Ebola outbreak in the vast central African country and has deployed experimental vaccines. George Grow was the editor.

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