The Ebola epidemic: the number of victims is growing steadily

The Ebola epidemic: the number of victims is growing steadily

Chief executive Doctor Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus visited the affected Bikoro area last weekend, saying he hoped for a "better way out" of the latest outbreak in DRC.

Peter Salama, in charge of emergency response at the World Health Organization, has said the spread to a city complicated the fight against Ebola, which depends on identifying and isolating suspected cases.

The organization is working with health NGO Medecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and other partners to boost the number of special isolation wards to treat patients.

"The confirmed case in Mbandaka, a large urban center located on major national and global river, road and domestic air routes increases the risk of spread within the Democratic Republic of the Congo and to neighboring countries", the statement said.

"We are entering a new phase of the Ebola outbreak that is now affecting three health zones, including an urban health zone", Ilunga said in a statement. This is the first urban case in the latest outbreak and is being considered to be one of the most serious ones in recent times.

Micaela Serafini, a medical director for the worldwide charity Medecins Sans Frontières (MSF) who is helping coordinate the response to the Congo outbreak, said its teams are planning for at least 45 minutes of discussion and information-sharing with each person, with a translator present, before signed consent would be obtained.

The EU funding announced today will ensure deployment of relevant surge capacity to the affected areas, surveillance and contact tracing of Ebola victims as well as active case finding for early detection of those infected. The vaccination campaign would first target health workers.

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Previously, the DRC had successfully managed the Ebola outbreaks but the hemorrhagic fever spread into an urban area is posing a major challenge to combat the outbreak.

The WHO revised its assessment of the risk of spread of the epidemic to "very high" at the national level and "high" for neighbouring countries.

The vaccine supplies so far will be enough to vaccinate 50 rings of 150 people, according to the WHO. It was tested in Guinea during the outbreak that killed more than 11,300 people in West Africa from 2014 to 2016.

There have been 44 suspected, probable or confirmed Ebola cases in this outbreak in Congo's Equateur province, and 23 people have died.

The first human outbreaks of Ebola occurred in 1976, one in the north of what is now Congo and in the region that is now South Sudan.

Ebola is lethal and highly contagious, which makes it hard to contain - especially in urban environments where people are mobile and come into more contact with others.

The World Health Organization's efforts to curb the spread of an Ebola outbreak are on a war footing ahead of an emergency meeting it has called for to discuss worldwide risks, Reuters reported.

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