Ebola outbreak death toll reaches 27 in Congo, WHO says

Ebola outbreak death toll reaches 27 in Congo, WHO says

The total number of possible Ebola cases, including those that have yet to be confirmed, stands at 54 on Saturday: six are suspected cases, 13 are considered likely and 35 have been confirmed by laboratory tests using biological samples.

The news follows reports three Ebola patients escaped quarantine in Mbandaka, two of which have died.

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.

Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO regional director for Africa, said the nine countries bordering Congo have initiated preparedness activities, which includes training health care workers and supplying clinics. The current outbreak in the Congo began on May 8. "Whether and how to designate a point person on outbreaks is a debate that predates the DRC Ebola outbreak, but the ongoing outbreak has added some urgency to this discussion", they wrote.

Exposure to the dead body, bodily fluids, and personal items of people who died of Ebola can spread the disease.

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.

USA action is generally credited as a key factor in containing the virus that caused the Ebola outbreak in one of the poorest parts of the world.

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

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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.

But Mr Obama eventually ordered massive U.S. intervention to stem an epidemic that would claim 11,300 lives, mainly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Doctors are especially anxious because, with a population of over 1 million people, Mbandaka is extremely susceptible to a fast-moving Ebola outbreak.

The agency issued a new toll, saying there had been 58 cases since early April - an increase of seven over figures issued on Tuesday - and said it was actively following more than 600 contacts. It takes a week to 10 days, said Dr Pierre Rollin, an epidemiologist with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and a veteran of more than a dozen Ebola outbreaks.

Those infected with Ebola can suffer from severe internal bleeding, fever, diarrhea and vomiting.

"Each day, we have between one and two commercial boats and a dozen dugout canoes traveling between Mbandaka and Kinshasa", said José Makila, the minister of transport in an interview. "Today, the increased capacity of World Health Organization to address Ebola outbreaks and its quick response in partnership with DRC mean that the current landscape, as well as the potential role for the USA, may be quite different from four years ago".

That message was repeated in Geneva by Tedros Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, who praised the commitment and sacrifice of the communities and health workers on the front line, as "the most important element in fighting this outbreak". In some cases, the virus is spread through contact with someone who has died from the disease. The programme also contains an additional contingency mechanism, to be drawn upon in the event of serious outbreaks, and use of which is allowing the United Kingdom to respond swiftly to the current situation in the DRC.

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