17/05/2017

DR Congo: New Ebola Outbreak Confirmed



Laboratory tests carried out in Kinshasa have confirmed the presence of the Ebola virus in two out of five blood samples taken from patients in from the Lakati health zone of the remote Bas-Uele province, near the Central Africa border.  The virus has been identified as the Zaire sub-type.




The DR Congo's Ministry of Health duly notified the suspected outbreak to the World Health Organisation (WHO) which sent out a team to investigate and assist.

On 15 May, the WHO confirmed that there are nineteen suspected Ebola cases and that three people have died.

Budd's Kinshasa office advises that the DR Congo government has taken all the necessary measures to ensure that the disease is contained in the Likati region which is over 1,300 kms from Kinshasa and around 2,000 kms from the ports of Matadi and Boma.

Sadly, as the country where Ebola was first identified, DR Congo is well-versed in dealing with the virus.  Since 1976, there have been at least eight outbreaks, none of which (thankfully) reached the same proportions as the 2014 epidemic in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone in which thousands died as the disease spread from remote areas to densley-populated areas.

Furthermore, following the 2014 epidemic an experimental vaccine now exists and could be used if the DR Congo government authorises WHO to do so.

In view of the distance between Likati and the ports, no preventive measures or restrictions have been introduced in respect of vessels calling in Matadi, Boma or Banana.

For further information, please see the WHO's statemetnt of 15 May:

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/statements/2017/ebola-drc/en/.

The Center for Disease Control publishes a comprehensive fact sheet on Ebola:

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs103/en/


Paul Mukendi (Budd DR Congo)
Sarah Penwarden (Budd Marseille)





























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