ibusinesslines.com August 17, 2018

Ebola patients flee hospital in DR Congo, says MSF

26 May 2018, 08:25 | Melissa Porter

Congo Ebola outbreak: 2 more die; 7 new cases confirmed

Congo Ebola vaccination campaign rolled out

Medical workers are seen at the health centre in the commune of Wangata during a vaccination campaign against the outbreak of Ebola, in Mbandaka, Democratic Republic of Congo, May 23, 2018.

In addition to the confirmed Ebola cases there are also 13 probable cases and six suspected ones, the health ministry said.

More than 1 million people live in Mbandaka, which is located along the Congo River - a major transportation route that links the outbreak zone to large cities to the north and south.

Two weeks have elapsed since the first laboratory-confirmed case of Ebola was discovered in the remote, rural town of Bikoro in DR Congo's northwestern Equateur Province.

Those two were among the three Ebola patients who left a hospital isolation ward and reentered the general population, according to the Doctors Without Borders mission in the Congolese city of Mbandaka.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a meeting in Geneva on Saturday that "I am personally committed to ensuring that we do everything we can to stop this outbreak as soon as possible".

The death toll of the outbreak has reached 27 as health chiefs crackdown on the virus.

Congo's government, the World Health Organization (WHO) and aid agencies are racing to contain what could be the most risky of Democratic Republic of Congo's nine epidemics since it was discovered by northern Congo's eponymous river four decades ago.

The US Agency for International Development on Tuesday said it was contributing another up to US$7 million (NZ$10.1 million) to combat the outbreak on top of the US$1 million (NZ$1.4 million) it committed last week.

"It's really the detective work of epidemiology that will make or break the response to this outbreak", Salama said.

WHO said the mission led by Riek Gai Kok, the minister of health, updated the governor of the state of Yambio, cabinets, members of the parliament, United Nations agencies and NGOs including members of the public on how the EVD is transmitted and the preventive measures that can be taken such as sensitizing the community through mobile messaging and ongoing TV, radio and print mass traditional and non-traditional communication campaigns.

Health Ministry sources, who asked not to be named, said two police officers had been deployed to help track them down.

This is the ninth Ebola outbreak in Congo in four decades.

On Wednesday, at one of the several privately run ports in the capital, there were no immediate signs of particular controls for boats and passengers arriving from the Ebola-affected areas.

There is no specific treatment for Ebola.

The top World Health Organization officials who spoke at Wednesday's event stressed the massive efforts put in place to halt the DRC outbreak. Proper use of the vaccine relies on identifying every person who may have come into contact with an infected individual, then working outward from there in what experts call "rings" of people, which includes contacts of contacts. But the virus has spread to an urban area in DR Congo, sparking fears that it could prove hard to control.

Community workers are racing to trace contacts of those infected by the virus and relay information to the public in northwest Congo, where an outbreak was detected at the start of May, in the hope of stopping its spread, the Red Cross said.

That is one of "the very painful lessons we learned in West Africa", she said.

He said: "In the next five days 100 people must be vaccinated, including 70 health professionals". In some cases, the virus is spread through contact with someone who has died from the disease.

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