WHO Confirms Ebola Outbreaks in Congo
But there's hope.
Two outbreaks of Ebola in the northeastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo have been confirmed by the World Health Organization.
The second confirmed outbreak is located in a remote and hard-to-reach location in the Bas Uele province of DRC, near the Central African Republic.
Three people have died from the virus, and the second outbreak has nine confirmed cases. The surviving victims are currently being hospitalized according to WHO.
The new wave of Ebola comes after 17 people were suspected of infection earlier this week, Reuters reports.
WHO is working to trace the 125 people believed to be exposed to the Ebola virus in the Congo, according to Reuters.
“It's very important to find all the possible contacts of people who have been infected, who has been in contact, and see whether there is a possible continuation of infection and limit it as much as possible,” Christian Lindmeier, WHO spokesman, told Al Jazeera.
A 39-year-old man (whose identity was not disclosed for privacy reasons) came down with a bloody nose, diarrhea, and was vomiting blood — symptoms of the deadly disease — on April 22. He died upon arriving at a health clinic in the Likati Health Zone in Bas Uele Province, DRC.
WHO is investigating a taxi driver and healthcare professional who came into contact with the man before his death.
The second outbreak in DRC comes after the 2014 outbreak in West Africa which killed 11,300 people.
This time around, however, the threat is less severe. While isolation can present challenges to treatment, the silver lining is that the outbreak is limited geographically, so the virus is less likely to spread. WHO has not issued a travel advisory to the DRC but is investigating the outbreak with “high vigilance.”
Gavi, the Global Vaccine Alliance has also offered support to DRC. On Friday, they said 300,000 Ebola vaccines could be available to the government if needed.
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The Ebola virus was first discovered by a Belgian doctor in near the River Ebola in the region of the current outbreak in northeastern Congo in 1976.
The region has not experienced mass death from outbreaks of the virus since then, giving hope that this outbreak, too, will be contained.