Ebola outbreak in DRC: are we better prepared this time?

WHO 19 people die in DRC Ebola outbreak

Yesterday, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, MD, traveled to the DRC, and he tweeted about visiting a hospital in Bikoro and observing the outbreak response.

According to the World Health Organization statement, there was a case fatality rate of almost 50 percent.

The dreaded Ebola virus has resurfaced in the Democratic Republic of Congo, but the governments of Africa and the United Nations are now better equipped to deal with the disease before it again claims thousands of lives.

However, in a BBC article written by Dr. Charlie Weller, Head of Vaccines for Wellcome Trust, the containment of the Ebola virus is possible through "a swift and well-co-ordinated response". According to STAT, the cold-chain equipment to keep the vaccine chilled was to arrive in DRC yesterday and the vaccine itself will be shipped from Geneva later this week.

This would mean that when a new Ebola case is diagnosed, all people who might have been in recent contact with them are traced and vaccinated to try and prevent the disease's spread.

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The World Health Organization said there have been 39 confirmed and suspected cases of Ebola over the past five weeks as the virus spreads across three rural areas covering almost 40 miles in the northwest part of the country. "We have three health care workers infected and one already died". Humans usually get infected from eating and preparing bush meat - mainly deer and monkey - and once they are infected, they can easily pass on the infection to other people. Teams on the ground have identified more than 350 people who had contact with patients.

World Health Organization still needs Congo's final authorization, which is expected in the coming days, Dr. Peter Salama, the agency's emergencies chief, told reporters in Geneva.

More than 11,000 people died and some 28,000 cases were reported in an Ebola outbreak in West Africa between 2014 and 2015. "We already have three separate locations that are reporting cases", said the WHO's deputy director-general for emergency preparedness and response, Peter Salama. As further information becomes available, the risk assessment will be reviewed. A new experimental vaccine has been shown to be highly effective, though quantities are limited. He also confirmed that the government of the DRC has formally asked to use an experimental vaccine being developed by Merck.

Gashumba revealed there is a constant screening system at Kigali International Airport to track the outbreak from people coming from overseas to make sure the disease does not spread in the country while more operations are intensively being done on the country's borders. The virus is not spread through the air or by water.

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