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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

African Union stresses co-ordinated efforts to control a new 'Ebola' outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo | Coastweek

It is believed that between people, Ebola disease spreads only by direct contact with the blood or other body fluids of a person who has developed symptoms of the disease. Body fluids that may contain Ebola viruses include saliva, mucus, vomit, feces, sweat, tears, breast milk, urine and semen. The WHO states that only people who are very sick are able to spread Ebola disease in saliva, and whole virus has not been reported to be transmitted through sweat. Most people spread the virus through blood, feces and vomit. Entry points for the virus include the nose, mouth, eyes, open wounds, cuts and abrasions. SOURCE AND IMAGE - WIKIPEDIA

African Union stresses co-ordinated efforts to control a
new 'Ebola' outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- The Africa Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) on Saturday stressed the need to establish comprehensive and well-coordinated response strategy to eradicate the new Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The Africa CDC - a special organ of the African Union (AU) established to support African countries to improve surveillance, emergency response, and prevention of infectious diseases - made the call as the Central African nation revealed a new Ebola virus outbreak this week.
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The DRC on Wednesday declared a new outbreak of the Ebola virus disease in two of its provinces - 32 cases in North Kivu province and one additional case in Ituri province.

On July 28, the North Kivu Provincial Health Division notified the Ministry of Health of DRC regarding suspected Ebola cases which were subsequently confirmed by laboratory testing.

According to the Africa CDC, the latest outbreak - the tenth outbreak of Ebola in the DRC - came shortly after the ninth outbreak was declared over on July 24 in DRC’s Equateur province.

A total of 33 cases, including 26 deaths, were reported with a cases fatality ratio of about 79 percent as of August 1, according to the Africa CDC.

North Kivu, the most affected province, is located about 2,500 kilometers from the Equateur province where the just ended outbreak was located.

The fact that North Kivu is one of the most densely populated provinces in DRC, with a population of about 8 million inhabitants, is also said to be another concern in effectively controlling the new Ebola outbreak.

Another concern is also said to be North Kivu’s proximity to neighboring countries, as Uganda and Rwanda bordered the province.

  African Union stresses co-ordinated efforts to control a new 'Ebola' outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo | Coastweek
GENEVA (Xinhua) -- According the latest WHO figures, as of Aug. 3, a total of 43 Ebola virus disease cases, including 13 confirmed and 30 probable, have been reported, of which 33 had died. An additional 33 suspected cases are currently pending laboratory testing to confirm or exclude Ebola virus disease. Three healthcare workers have been affected,  two have died. IMAGE - WIKIPEDIA

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Beni and surrounding areas, with a population of about 2 million inhabitants, is also said to be the epicentre of the outbreak, according to the Africa CDC’s latest statement.Noting the need to build capabilities to effectively respond and control the new Ebola outbreak, the Africa CDC urged the "need to support the leadership role of the Government of DRC to establish a comprehensive and well-coordinated response strategy."

It also stressed the need to operate in partnership and synergy to "control this outbreak and mitigate the impact on the health and economic security of the African Continent."

The AU - through the Africa CDC - also revealed that it "will continue to support the efforts of the DRC Government during this outbreak as well as neighboring countries."

The AU further indicated that it is presently responding to the outbreak with appropriate measures to support the government-led response, which include monitoring of the situation through its Emergency Operation Centres, and coordinating with the Ministry of Health of the DRC and the World Health Organization (WHO).

The pan African bloc, AU, further revealed that it is currently mobilizing and preparing to relocate its Emergency Response Team to the current affected areas as well as supporting laboratory diagnostic capacity through the provision of laboratory supplies for testing of the Ebola virus.

According to the AU, activating the AU emergency support mechanism through different units of the commission including the Peace Support Operation Division is also another area of intervention.

The Africa CDC also stressed that it is sensitizing member states through its information sharing platforms to heighten their surveillance and preparedness efforts through its Regional Collaborating Centres in the Eastern and Central Africa.

DRC’s Health Minister, Oly Ilunga, on Wednesday said that since Ebola is endemic in many parts of the country due to the equatorial forest ecosystem, the Ministry of Health has already strengthened its epidemiological surveillance system in all risk areas, including North-Kivu.

WHO Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, while announcing the end of the ninth Ebola outbreak in DRC last week, also urged the DRC government and the international community to build on the positive momentum generated by the quick containment of the outbreak.

"This effective response to Ebola should make the government and partners confident that other major outbreaks affecting the country, such as cholera and polio, can also be tackled," he said.

"We must continue to work together, investing in strengthened preparedness and access to healthcare for the most vulnerable," he added.
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EARLIER REPORTS:

New Ebola outbreak in Democratic Republic of the Congo - after
recent 'all-clear' - now alarms WHO and neighbouring countries

KINSHASA Democratic Republic of the Congo (Xinhua) -- The latest Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has put its neighboring countries on alert with the World Health Organization (WHO) saying tackling the epidemic would be "complex."

On July 24, WHO had declared an official end to the Ebola outbreak in DRC but within a week, the epidemic made a comeback with a fresh case confirmed on Aug. 1.

Preliminary laboratory results indicated a cluster of Ebola cases in the eastern province of North Kivu, some 2,500 km from the far western province of Equateur, where the outbreak was reported and then officially declared to have ended.

However, there was no evidence to suggest a link between the two outbreaks, although it was very likely that they shared the same deadly Zaire strain, Peter Salama, deputy director general of emergency preparedness and response at WHO, said Friday.

"It’s going to be a very, very complex operation ... trying to extinguish an outbreak of a deadly high-threat pathogen in a war zone," Salama warned, referring to logistical challenges and the ongoing conflict.

North Kivu shares borders with Rwanda and Uganda with a great deal of cross-border movement due to trade activities.

The province hosts over 1 million people displaced by the violence between ethnic groups in the Ituri region in the northeast.

There is the additional risk that those fleeing violence may head toward nearby countries, taking the infection along, WHO warned, adding that additional surveillance measures are being implemented at crossing points.

Health authorities in Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda warned citizens to stay calm and take preventive measures.

The Ebola virus is highly contagious and causes a range of symptoms including fever, vomiting, diarrhea, generalized pain and in many cases internal and external bleeding.

This is the 10th Ebola outbreak in the DRC since 1976. A total of 33 cases, including 26 deaths, were reported during the ninth outbreak, according to the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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Total 13 Ebola cases confirmed in eastern DR Congo

KINSHASA Democratic Republic of the Congo (Xinhua) -- Thirteen Ebola cases have been confirmed, including three deaths, in North-Kivu province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), according to a statement released overnight by the ministry of health.

According to the statement, the Malabako area is the most affected with 10 out of 13 confirmed cases in total.

These results are part of the daily tests that the laboratory team of the health ministry delivers in collaboration with the team of the World Health Organization (WHO), deployed since the declaration of the epidemic in the territory of Beni.

After the epidemic in Equateur province announced in May, Congolese authorities indicated that the vaccination will be an integral part of the response to the Ebola outbreak in North-Kivu province.

The Expanded Program on Immunization still has 3,220 doses of vaccine in stock in Kinshasa.
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Democratic Republic of the Congo Ebola risk high at national
and regional levels: World Health Organization

GENEVA (Xinhua) -- The fresh Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo) has posed a high public health risk at both national and regional levels, though the risk is still considered low globally, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Sunday.

Earlier on Aug. 1, the DR Congo government announced that preliminary laboratory results had indicated a cluster of cases of Ebola virus in North Kivu province, northeastern of the country.

It came little more than a week after the Ministry of Health declared the end of an outbreak in Equateur Province in the far western part of the country.

As North Kivu province borders Rwanda and Uganda, potential risk factors for transmission of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) at national and regional levels include the transportation links between the affected areas, the rest of the country, and neighboring countries, the WHO said.

Meanwhile, as the outbreak affected region has been hosting over one million displaced people and the country is concurrently experiencing several epidemics and a long-term humanitarian crisis, the security situation in North Kivu may hinder the implementation of response activities, the WHO added, hence declaring that the public health risk posed by Ebola is considered high at the national and regional levels and low globally.

According the latest WHO figures, as of Aug. 3, a total of 43 Ebola virus disease cases, including 13 confirmed and 30 probable, have been reported, of which 33 had died. An additional 33 suspected cases are currently pending laboratory testing to confirm or exclude Ebola virus disease.

Three healthcare workers have been affected, of whom two have died.

The WHO also said that currently there is no evidence to suggest that the fresh Ebola events are related to the recent outbreak in Equateur Province, which is located some 2,500 km from the latest outbreak.

Amid the still ongoing investigation, the WHO suggests that neighboring provinces and countries enhance surveillance and preparedness activities, but it also advises against any restriction of travel and trade to the DR Congo, while continuing to monitor travel and trade measures in relation to this event.
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Uganda on alert following Ebola outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo

KAMPALA Uganda (Xinhua) -- Uganda’s ministry of health has said it is on high alert following an outbreak of the deadly Ebola hemorrhagic fever in neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Ruth Aceng, minister of health in a statement issued late on Friday said all travelers from DRC will be screened before being allowed into the country.

"Our rapid response teams have started training health workers on how to identify potential risks, enhance infection control and increase their level of awareness," Aceng said.

She said apart from a screening center which has been set up at Entebbe International Airport, others have also been put in the border districts of Kasese, Ntoroko, Kanungu, Kisoro and Kabarole.

DRC on Wednesday confirmed an outbreak of Ebola in Beni, North Kivu, about 100 km from the Ugandan border post of Mpondwe in Kasese.

Twenty-six cases were reported in North Kivu, including 20 deaths.

This new outbreak comes shortly after the World Health Organization (WHO) had declared an end of the Ebola outbreak in another part of DRC.

The Ebola virus is highly contagious and causes a range of symptoms including fever, vomiting, diarrhea, generalized pain or malaise and in many cases internal and external bleeding.

Mortality rates of Ebola fever, according to WHO, are extremely high, with the human case-fatality rate ranging from 50 percent to 89 percent, depending on viral sub-type.
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Uganda on high alert as mysterious disease kills six

KAMPALA Uganda (Xinhua) -- Health experts in Uganda have confined two people in an isolation unit as they investigate a strange illness that has killed six people in the past one month.

A medical team has been dispatched to the central region district of Mubende, where an isolation center has been set up, ministry of health spokesperson Vivian Nakalika told Xinhua by telephone on Thursday.

Nakalika said they were notified of eight cases a few weeks ago of which six had passed on.

The deaths were reported to have happened one week apart.

"A team of experts was dispatched, took samples off one of the surviving cases, and the results turned out negative for all viral hemorrhagic fevers, including Ebola, Marburg and Rift Valley Fever," she said.

Another sample was taken off the second case and the results from the Uganda Virus Research Institute are expected soon, she added.

Local authorities were earlier quoted as saying that one of the victims died after vomiting and passing out blood.

The latest victim died on Tuesday, according to district health officials.

The ministry in May confirmed that one person had succumbed to Congo Crimean hemorrhagic fever in the same district.
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Rwanda starts Ebola screening for all arrivals

KIGALI Rwanda (Xinhua) -- Rwanda has started Ebola screening of travellers entering the country, an official said on Saturday, following a fresh outbreak of the deadly virus disease in its neighbor the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC.

The purpose of the screening is to ensure that any Ebola cases can be detected and isolated, said Malick Kayumba, the head of Rwanda health communication center, to Xinhua.

"Everyone coming in is requested to go through the screening processes for Ebola prevention as per measures set up at borders with DRC and Uganda, Kigali International Airport and ports.

No one will proceed for entrance unless she or he is screened," Kayumba said.

He said any person with fever of 37.5 degree and above is requested to go for isolation in the nearest health facility for further checks and follow-up.

Health workers take temperatures of travellers, ask their recent travel history and look out for immediate signs of the Ebola hemorrhagic fever such as high temperatures, a traveller who entered Rwanda from Goma town in eastern DRC told Xinhua.

The DRC government announced Wednesday that preliminary laboratory results indicate a cluster of cases of Ebola virus in North Kivu province, which came little more than a week after the Ministry of Health declared the end of an outbreak in Equateur Province in the far western part of the country, some 2,500 km from North Kivu.

Following the announcement, Rwanda’s ministry of health on Thursday called on Rwandan residents and visitors to be calm, saying it is well prepared and has taken measures to prevent any possible outbreak of the deadly virus.

It also called on the public to take preventive measures such as avoiding unnecessary movement to areas where the disease has been reported, washing hands with soap and clean water, seeking medical attention after seeing any signs of Ebola, and seeking timely medication.

Five out of six East African Community member states share borders with the DRC, maintaining close trade relations with high border traffic.
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Tanzania allays fears of Ebola as fresh outbreak
is reported in Democratic Republic of Congo

DAR ES SALAAM Tanzania (Xinhua) -- The government of Tanzania on Friday allayed fears of Ebola as fresh outbreak of the viral disease was reported in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) where four people have been tested positive.

Ummy Mwalimu, the east African nation’s Minister for Health, urged the public to remain calm as the government took control measures.

Four people have tested positive for Ebola in eastern DRC just a few days after another outbreak that killed 33 people in the northwest of the central African country was declared over, the DRC health ministry said on Wednesday.

Mwalimu said the government will continue educating the public on Ebola preventive and control measures.

"More efforts will focus on ensuring health authorities at border posts are supplied with medical equipment to check the disease," said Mwalimu.

She said emergency response teams have been trained and were ready to respond to any possible emergencies.

Mwalimu said protective gears and testing facilities have been distributed in eight regions, including Dar es Salaam, Songwe, Rukwa, Katavi, Kigoma and Kagera.

"We have instructed the Medical Stores Department to distribute medical equipment at border posts, " she said.

The World Health Organization on Wednesday started moving staff and supplies to the DRC, said WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
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FURTHER READING:

Ebola is a viral hemorrhagic fever of humans and other primates caused by ebolaviruses

Ebola virus disease, formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever, is a severe, often fatal illness

             

 

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