New outbreak of Ebola kills 17 in northwest DRC

DRC- Seventeen people in northwest Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have died from Ebola, the health ministry said on Tuesday, describing the fresh outbreak as a “public health emergency with international impact.”

They went further to say, “Twenty-one cases of fever with haemorrhagic indications and 17 deaths” have been recorded in Equateur province, they sighted a notification they received from the ministry as of May 3.

It is the country’s ninth known outbreak of Ebola since 1976, after the deady viral disease was first identified what was first called Zaire by a Belgian-led team.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) said lab tests in the DRC have confirmed the presence of Ebola virus in two out of five samples collected from patients.

The WHO statement said, “WHO is working closely with the government of the DRC to rapidly scale up its operations and mobilize health partners, using the model of a successful response to a similar… outbreak in 2017.”

WHO has sent $1m from an emergency contingency fund to set up a coordination group, deploying more than 50 experts to work with the DRC government and health agencies.

The statement added, “The action plan prepared by the health ministry has been approved,” following the cabinet meeting.

They health organisation said no more new deaths have been reported, “Since the notification of the cases on May 3, no deaths have been reported.”

But WHO did not say when the first case was reported of Ebola.

It is known the outbreak occurred in Bikoro, on the shores of Lake Tumba.

WHO said all the cases were reported from a clinic at Ilkoko Iponge, about 30km from Bikoro, where treatment capacities is limited.

It has sent a team of experts from the WHO, Doctors without Borders (DRC) and Equateur province have travelled to Bikoro on Tuesday to beef up coordination and carry out investigations.

Ebola is known as one of the world’s most dangerous diseases, being both highly infectious and extremely lethal.

The virus is from a natural reservoir in the bat, which does not itself fall ill, but can pass the microbe on to humans who hunt it for “bushmeat”.

The virus is spreads by contact with bodily fluids, touching a sick or dead person is a well-known source of infection.

An incubation period of between two and 21 days, Ebola symptoms are high fever, weakness, intense muscle and joint pain, headaches and a sore throat.

Then followed by vomiting and diarrhoea, skin eruptions, kidney and liver failure, and internal and external bleeding.

The worst-ever Ebola outbreak was in December 2013, killed more than 11 300 people out of nearly 29 000 registered cases, according to WHO estimated.

Photo Credit- The Daily Beast

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