.


THE MOST FROM THE COAST !

..


 Coastweek website


XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 
Analysts warn of high risk of Ebola
spreading across DRC and region

KINSHASA Democratic Republic of Congo (Xinhua) -- The risk of spread of the Ebola haemorrhagic fever epidemic in the northwestern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is very high across the country, according to authorities and analysts interviewed by Xinhua.

Since the official announcement of the epidemic on May 8 by the Minister of Health, the World Health Organization (WHO) has expressed concern about the high risk of spread of the virus following high numbers of suspected cases registered in the Bikoro area in the northwest of the country.

“We are very concerned and we are preparing for all scenarios including worst-case scenarios,” said Peter Salama, director of the WHO Emergency Management Program during his visit accompanied by Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in Kinshasa earlier this week. 

The DRC is at its ninth Ebola outbreak since 1976. The latest outbreak reported in May 2017 officially killed four people.

The virus takes its name from the river that runs along the village of Yambuku where it raged for the first time in 1976.

“We did not know this disease, it was mysterious,” says Professor Jean-Jacques Muyembe, who was the first researcher to go to the field at the time.

Congolese Minister of Health Orly Ilunga also expressed concern over the spread of the epidemic for the ninth time. 

“So we are entering a new phase of the Ebola outbreak that is now affecting three health zones, including an urban health zone,” the minister said on Wednesday.

Among the concerns of the DRC authorities, the Ebola epidemic this time in the northwest of the country has one of the particularities of the contamination of health professionals, the reaching of two health zones, to namely Bikoro and Iboko.

It is also in the proximity to the densely populated city of Mbandaka, which is a crossroads in the province of Equateur and to neighboring provinces.

The concern is also justified by the fact that the Equateur province affected by the epidemic shares several points of contact with other regions of the country including the capital Kinshasa.

“We will intensify the monitoring and tracing of the population to all air, sea and road access routes. The other cities in the province as well as the cities upstream and downstream of Mbandaka on the river are also placed under health surveillance,” added Orly Ilunga.

Over the past week, several countries in the region, some of which surround the DRC, have announced response measures to prevent the spread of the Ebola virus in their territories.

Central African Republic and Congo-Brazzaville, which share maritime borders with Equateur province of DRC, have also announced surveillance to prevent the spread of the epidemic on its territory. Uganda, Gabon also announced their contingency measures against the spread.

Since 1976, the date of the first outbreak of Ebola in the country, at least 700 people have died across the country, according to statistics from the laboratory of the National Institute of Biomedical Research (INRB) of Kinshasa.

“Thanks to our expertise in the DRC in epidemiological surveillance, we have always taken control of the Ebola virus, and even now I think that the virus is already under control,” said Professor Jean-Jacques Muyembe, medical director of the INRB. 

For the first time, the DRC has received Wednesday thousands of doses of vaccine against the Ebola virus disease sent by the WHO. The vaccination campaign will be targeted at exposed health professionals, those who have been in contact with confirmed cases.

According to Serge Kabamba, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Kinshasa, like the other previous epidemics, the current Ebola epidemic in the Bikoro area should remain limited to certain geographical areas of the province without leading to a health catastrophe, if the responses are well coordinated as usual.

At least 44 cases have been recorded since the beginning of the epidemic including three confirmed cases, according to the latest statistics from the Minister of Health.

.

EARLIER REPORTS:

DR Congo’s Ebola outbreak enters “new phase”
after newly-discovered urban case: official

KINSHASA Democratic Republic of the Congo (Xinhua) -- The Ebola outbreak of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has entered a “new phase” following the first reported case of the deadly virus in the northwestern city of Mbandaka, with a population of some 1 million, the health minister said Wednesday.

“We are entering a new phase of the Ebola outbreak that is now affecting three health zones, including an urban health zone,” Health Minister Oly Ilunga Kalenga said in a statement.

The 23 people, who have died in the DRC’s latest outbreak, had been detected in rural areas, giving authorities a better chance of containing the spread of the virus.

The first urban case threatens to change that. Mbandaka is a major transportation hub with routes to the capital Kinshasa. Located on the banks of the Congo River, the Republic of Congo is on the other side of the river.

“This is a major development in the outbreak, We have urban Ebola, which is a very different animal from rural Ebola. The potential for an explosive increase in cases is now there,” BBC quoted Senior World Health Organization (WHO) official Peter Salama as saying.

Kalenga said authorities were tracing all air, river and road routes in and out of the city to find the source of the virus.

“Since the announcement of the alert in Mbandaka, our epidemiologists are working in the field to identify people who have been in contact with suspected cases,” Kalenga said.

The DRC is now in its ninth Ebola outbreak since 1976.

The first 4,000 doses of experimental vaccine from the WHO to combat the Ebola outbreak has arrived Wednesday in Kinshasa. Salama said another 4000-vaccine batch will arrive soon.

The vaccine, developed by Merck and Co Inc, is still not licensed but has proved effective during limited trials in West Africa in the biggest-ever outbreak of Ebola, which killed 11,300 people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone from 2014 to 2016.

Ebola is a highly infectious disease spread through contact with even small amounts of bodily fluid of an infected person. Its early flu-like symptoms are not always easy to detect. 

.

UPDATES:

Number of confirmed Ebola cases in Democratic Republic of Congo adds up to 14

KINSHASA Democratic Republic of Congo (Xinhua) -- The number of confirmed Ebola cases of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has risen to 14 after the Health Ministry announced 11 new confirmed cases and one new related death in the country’s northwest.

A ministry statement late Thursday said the 11 new confirmed cases and one new related death were reported in the town of Bikoro in Equateur Province, where the Ebola outbreak was officially announced on May 8 by authorities.

It said the new death has epidemiologic ties to another case. Another lethal case in Wangata on Thursday was a suspected one.

The statement said the total number of Ebola cases is now 45, including 10 suspected cases, 21 probable cases and 14 confirmed cases.

Health Minister Oly Ilunga said of the current 25 deaths, only one has been confirmed as Ebola, adding that no new health professionals have been contaminated.

On Wednesday, the minister said the Ebola outbreak in the DRC entered a “new phase” following the first reported case of the deadly virus in the northwestern city of Mbandaka, with a population of some 1 million.

The first 4,000 doses of experimental vaccine from the World Health Organization (WHO) to combat the Ebola outbreak arrived Wednesday in Kinshasa, the country’s capital.

The Ebola vaccination campaign will first target health workers

The DRC is at its ninth Ebola outbreak since 1976.

Ebola is a highly infectious disease spread through contact with even small amounts of bodily fluid of an infected person. Its early flu-like symptoms are not always easy to detect.
.

FURTHER READING:

High risk of Ebola spreading in Democratic
Republic of Congo and across its borders

           

Remember: you read it first at coastweek.com !


 

TO ADVERTISE ON THIS WEB SITE:  www.coastweek.com
Please contact

MOMBASA - GULSHAN JIVRAJ, Mobile: 0722 775164 Tel: (+254) (41) 2230130 /
Wireless: 020 3549187 e-mail: info@coastweek.com

NAIROBI - ANJUM H. ASODIA, Mobile: 0733 775446 Tel: (+254) (020) 3744459
e-mail: anjum@asodia.co.ke

 
    © Coastweek Newspapers Limited               Tel: (+254) (41) 2230130  |  Wireless: 020 3549187  |  E-mail: info@coastweek.com