2018 Ebola virus outbreak in DR Congo | Ebola outbreak in DR Congo.
2018 Ebola virus outbreak in DR Congo – Ebola is a serious infectious illness that causes internal bleeding and often proves fatal. It can spread rapidly through contact with small amounts of bodily fluid and its early flu-like symptoms are not always obvious. Health Minister Oly Ilunga Kalenga confirmed a case in Mbandaka, a city of a million people about 130km (80 miles) from the area where the first cases were confirmed earlier this month.
What is being done to contain the outbreak? | 2018 Ebola virus outbreak in DR Congo
Confirmed, probable and suspected cases of Ebola have been recorded in three health zones of Congo’s Equateur province, the WHO said. Isolation and rudimentary Ebola case management facilities had been set up in Mbandaka to cope with cases, Mr Salama said.
He said the disease may have been brought there by two or three people who had attended the funeral of an Ebola victim in Bikoro to the south of Mbandaka before travelling to the city. On Wednesday more than 4,000 doses of an experimental vaccine sent by the WHO arrived in Kinshasa with another batch expected soon.
These would be given as a priority to people in Mbandaka who had been in contact with those suspected of carrying the Ebola virus before people in any other affected area in order to stop Ebola spreading in the urban region and beyond, Mr Salama said.
Why is the spread to a city such a worry? | 2018 Ebola virus outbreak in DR Congo
The 2014-16 West Africa outbreak, which killed 11,300 people, was particularly deadly because it spread to the capital cities of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. Senior World Health Organization (WHO) official Peter Salama said the spread to Mbandaka meant there was the potential for an “explosive increase” in cases.
“This is a major development in the outbreak,” he told the BBC. “We have urban Ebola, which is a very different animal from rural Ebola. The potential for an explosive increase in cases is now there.”
Mr Salama, the WHO’s Deputy Director-General of Emergency Preparedness and Response, said Mbandaka’s location on the Congo river, widely used for transportation, raised the prospect of Ebola spreading to surrounding countries such as Congo-Brazzaville and the Central African Republic as well as downstream to Kinshasa, a city of 10 million people.
“This puts a whole different lens on this outbreak and gives us increased urgency to move very quickly into Mbandaka to stop this new first sign of transmission,” he said.
- 2018 Ebola virus outbreak in DR Congo