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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 
Democratic Republic of the Congo  Ebola outbreak still active,
cities become new hotspot: World Health Organization

GENEVA (Xinhua) -- The World Health Organization (WHO) said Friday that the latest Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) remains active, with the cities of Beni and Butembo becoming the new hotspot.

Substantial progress has been made to limit the spread of the disease to new areas and the situation at Mabalako Health Zone in Mangina, North Kivu province, is stabilizing, WHO said in a statement.

In the meantime, response teams continue to enhance activities to mitigate potential clusters in Beni and Butembo—two large, populous cities in the province—and prevent spread to other areas.

Significant risks for further spread of the disease still remain, the WHO warned. Continued challenges include contacts lost to follow-up, delayed recognition of Ebola in health centers, poor infection prevention and control in health centers, and reluctance among some cases to be treatment in Ebola treatment centers.

The priority thus remains strengthening all components of the public health response in all affected areas, as well as continuing to enhance operational readiness and preparedness in the non-affected provinces and neighboring countries.

The WHO said as of Tuesday, it had deployed 209 experts in the DRC to support response activities. Among them are emergency coordinators, epidemiologists, laboratory experts, logisticians, clinical care specialists, communicators, and community engagement specialists.

Over 5,000 Ebola contacts had been registered, of which 1,983 remain under surveillance.

Meanwhile, 10,701 people have so far consented and been vaccinated, including 4,008 health care or frontline workers, and 2,362 children. The ring vaccination teams are currently active in three health areas in North Kivu and one in neighboring Ituri province.

As the latest Ebola outbreak is affecting north-eastern provinces of the DRC which borders Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan, the WHO remains that national and regional spread remains high, and that it’s important for neighboring provinces and countries to enhance surveillance and preparedness activities.

As of Tuesday, a total of 143 Ebola cases, including 112 confirmed and 31 probable cases, had be reported, which include 97 deaths.

Though an overall decreasing trend in weekly case incidence continues, it has to be interpreted with caution given the expected delays in case reporting and the ongoing detection of sporadic cases. 

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UPDATE:

No confirmed case of Ebola in Uganda: ministry

KAMPALA Uganda (Xinhua) -- Uganda’s ministry of health on Sunday said there is no confirmed case of Ebola in the country although a case was registered on the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) border.

The ministry in a statement said it has received information from the World Health Organization that a case was registered at Kasenyi village on the shores of Lake Albert, which is shared with Uganda.

“The ministry of health would like to inform the general public that there is no confirmed case of Ebola in Uganda,” the statement said.

The ministry warned that there is a high risk of the disease spreading to Uganda since there are population movements on the Lake to Uganda.

The statement said the ministry is working with partners to support districts neighboring DRC to heighten preparedness and readiness to handle any Ebola case that may come into the country.

The ministry said there is ongoing screening of people crossing from DRC for signs and symptoms of Ebola.

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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