Published: Sat, May 12, 2018
People | By Neil Grant

Congo Faces Another Ebola Outbreak After 18 Die, 2 Cases Confirmed

Congo Faces Another Ebola Outbreak After 18 Die, 2 Cases Confirmed

The cases are in a remote area of the country with "absolutely dire" infrastructure.

The WHO is working with authorities in Congo and is in discussions with the World Food Programme to arrange airlifting supplies to the affected areas. However, there is an airstrip 8 km from Bikoro. The WHO estimates that the 3-month air bridge cost to be $2.4 million.

Health officials declared an Ebola outbreak in the country's northwest on Tuesday after lab tests confirmed the deadly virus in two cases from the town of Bikoro in the Equateur province.

Whitworth said the situation was worrying, but Congo may be better prepared to detect and manage Ebola than other countries since it has had more experience.

Ebola spreads quickly, and launching a rapid response is crucial to prevent an outbreak from escalating.

In a press conference given in Geneva on Friday, Peter Salama, head of the WHO's emergency response, told reporters the worldwide health organization is taking the newest outbreak of this Ebola virus very seriously.

The deaths occurred over a period of time and Ebola, which is not the only virus responsible for hemorrhagic fevers, has not been confirmed as the cause in any of the 17 cases, Ilunga said.

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. When we talk about Ebola virus now, the shadow of the 2014 West African epidemic hangs heavy as a warning of what can happen. "At all levels, this has been taken as the highest priority".

World Health Organization now has a team on the ground along with partner Médecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), and will invole an additional team of between 20-40 specialists in epidemiology, logistics, contact-tracing, and vaccination programmes, in the coming days.

"WHO staff were in the team that first identified the outbreak". At the moment, he said, they are stored at minus 80 degrees by the manufacturer, Merck, Sharpe & Dohme. "It's completely different", Fall said, adding that this response was also faster than that in Congo past year.

He told a United Nations briefing in Geneva that he hoped the Democratic Republic of Congo would deploy an "experimental vaccine".

He said, however, that there are many complications in using an experimental vaccine, and it's not a simple logistical effort. The WHO has reached out to experienced Ebola vaccinators from Guinea.

"This is a highly complicated, sophisticated operation in one of the most hard terrains on earth", Salama said.

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