Congo Faces Another Ebola Outbreak After 18 Die, 2 Cases Confirmed


Some 462 million people are living in the areas affected by Ebola virus outbreaks, many of them in very remote rural areas.

Nigeria's immigration service said on Thursday, May 10, that it had increased screening tests at airports and other entry points as a precautionary measure. Five samples were collected from 5 patients and two have been confirmed by the laboratory.

In a press conference given in Geneva on Friday, Peter Salama, head of the WHO's emergency response, told reporters the global health organization is taking the newest outbreak of this Ebola virus very seriously.

Based on lessons learned in past outbreaks, the World Health Organization has already produced some technical materials in the local language and sent them to the area, Salama said. Bikoro has a population of about 163,000 spread over an area of approximately 1,075 square kilometers (415 square miles). Medical supplies are provided by worldwide bodies, but stock outs are frequent.

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Confirming the case in a chat with Reuters, the director of the main hospital in Democratic Republic of Congo's northwestern town of Bikoro said the health Centre received a new case. The WHO has already released $1 million from its contingency fund, and Wellcome Trust and the United Kingdom government have pledged £3 million ($4.1 million).

Having already deployed personal protective equipment on the ground, WHO plans to have a mobile laboratory up and running by this weekend, following approval from the DRC's Ministry of Health. No deaths have been reported among those hospitalized or among health workers treating the ill.

Immediate logistical capabilities and needs are being established.

"The country is requesting it, and the response is underway", he said Friday.

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The surveillance system of diseases with epidemic characteristics is on high alert, he added.

The overall risk at the regional level is considered moderate because of the proximity to the Congo river, which links with both the capitals of the Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic.

The VSV-EBOV vaccine, developed in Canada and licensed by NewLink Genetics and Merck, was shown to be highly effective in a ring vaccination trial in Guinea during West Africa's outbreak.

"My ministry established the National Health Emergencies Council to work expeditiously to prevent importation of any virus or disease".

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Although the DRC is resource poor, along with the WHO, MSF and Africa CDC, they are experience rich. World Health Organization continues to monitor travel and trade measures in relation to this event, and now there are no restrictions of the global traffic in place.