First batch of experimental Ebola vaccines arrive in Kinshasa
18 May, 2018, 15:59
Reports also indicate that 32 people are suspected to have been infected with Ebola viral disease, including three health care workers.
"If you remember from the previous outbreak, it took a whole lot for the worldwide community to understand it's a risky disease.Today it seems as if as soon as the first case was declared at least a lot of people are coming in to help", said Axelle Ronsse of the organisation.
Democratic Republic of Congo faces a "very high" public health risk from Ebola because the disease has been confirmed in a patient in a big city, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday, raising its assessment from "high" previously.
Later on Friday, the WHO will convene an Emergency Committee of experts to advise on the worldwide response to the outbreak, and decide whether it constitutes a "public health emergency of global concern".
Congo's health minister says Ebola has spread to a city, the capital of Equateur province, a worrying shift in the new outbreak in the northwest.
Ilunga said Congo now is entering an urban phase of the outbreak, with higher spread potential. But "urban Ebola can result in an exponential increase in cases in a way that rural Ebola struggles to do". It will also cover communication with affected communities on risks and what behaviour to take to prevent the spread of the disease including psycho-social support and preparedness for safe and dignified burials. The virus is initially transmitted to people from wild animals, including bats and monkeys.
Mr Salama said that isolation and rudimentary management facilities had been set up in Mbandaka.
The WHO is sending 7,540 doses of an experimental vaccine to try to stop the outbreak in its tracks, and 4,300 doses have already arrived in Kinshasa. These vaccines had proved to be effective in halting the Ebola outbreak in the West Africa a few years ago.
However, it needs to be stored at a temperature of between -60 and -80 C, which is a challenge in DR Congo because electricity supplies are unreliable.
By Tuesday, 527 contacts had been identified and were being followed up and monitored, it said.
Why does Ebola keep returning?
Similarly, the European Commission has released around 1.6 million euros (1.9 million dollars) to help tackle an Ebola outbreak in Congo, as well as organising flights to transport emergency staff and equipment to the affected areas. As long as humans come in contact with them, there is always a possibility that Ebola could return.
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