ibusinesslines.com August 19, 2018

World Health Organization preparing for the worst in DR Congo Ebola outbreak

11 May 2018, 07:31 | Melissa Porter

Nigeria's health minister Prof Isaac Adewole and NCDC DG

As Ebola returns to Africa Nigeria attempts to secure its borders

Kenya which relies heavily on tourist dollars from visits to game reserves, Coastal beaches and popular Safaris was negatively impacted in 2014 when Ebola outbreak was first announced in the country, and hurting tourism industry which was already reeling from a spate of attacks by Islamists, including 2013 attack on the upscale Westgate mall and separate incidents on the coast.

The epidemic so far appears to be centred around the village of Ikoko Impenge, near the town of Bikoro. Of the cases, two have been confirmed, 18 are probable, and 12 are suspected.

He said the possibility of global spread of the disease was still considered "low", but that the situation was constantly being evaluated.

But the outbreak may be worse than it seems, a World Health Organization official told Stat, since it may have started earlier and spread further than has been reported.

"The Ebola epidemic in 2014 highlighted that to save lives we need to act quickly to stop the spread of this disease".

Whether experts will be able to find infected bats during the latest DRC outbreak remains unknown, partly because there may have been undetected cases of the disease dating back months; any culprit bat colony may have moved on by now. Vaccines have been stockpiled, we have built research and monitoring capacity, and the Rapid Support Team of health experts stand ready to be deployed if needed. "This situation worries us and requires an immediate and energetic response".

The average fatality rate is around 50 percent, varying from 25 percent to 90 percent, according to the WHO.

Prevention includes limiting the spread of the disease from infected animals to humans.

Among humans, the commonest form of infection is through close contact with the blood, body fluids, secretions or organs of someone who is sick with Ebola or has recently died - a risk in African cultures where relatives typically touch the body of the deceased at funerals. These are often followed by vomiting, diarrhea, rashes, organ failure, and sometimes internal and external bleeding.

There is no specific treatment for Ebola.

Mr Salama told a regular United Nations briefing in Geneva he hoped Congo would give the green light within days for the deployment of an experimental vaccine, but he warned that the drug was complicated to use and not a magic bullet.

Deputy Director-General of Emergency Preparedness and Response Peter Salama is reported by Reuters to have said that his outfit is "preparing for the worst-case scenario". The world's first-known Ebola cases occurred in the DRC in 1976 (when the country was called Zaire), killing 280 of the 318 people known to have been infected.

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