World Health Organisation confirms several dead in DR Congo
The World Health Organization has confirmed an Ebola outbreak in a remote forested part of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the first in that country since 2014. By May 12, at least nine people were suspected of being infected, and three had died.
The outbreak has raised alarms about the possibility of a new epidemic.
“An investigation team led by the Ministry of Health and supported by WHO and partners has deployed and is expected to reach the affected area in the coming days”, said Peter Salama, WHO’s executive director for emergencies, in a statement.
The WHO said it was informed on May 09 of a cluster of undiagnosed illness and deaths, including hemorrhagic symptoms, in the northeastern part of the country, bordering the Central African Republic. On May 11, the DRC’s health ministry informed WHO that of five laboratory samples tested, one tested positive for Ebola virus at a laboratory in Kinshasa. That confirmed case was one of the three people who died.
The Ebola infection was confirmed from tests on a group of people exhibiting symptoms since April 22 in the province of Bas-Uélé in northeast DRC.
The ministry said it was starting to trace the contacts of those who may have been infected and was issuing protective kits for the health workers involved.
“Our country must confront an outbreak of the Ebola virus that constitutes a public health crisis of international significance,” the ministry said.
On April 22, the confirmed Ebola victim drove across part of the vast province on motorbike to reach medical care. He had blood in his vomit and stool. There are conflicting accounts of whether he was able to reach the regional hospital in Likati. A sample of his blood was taken to Kinshasa, but because Bas-Uélé is so remote, it took 10 days before the sample arrived in Kinshasa, the capital, and was tested.