Experimental vaccine arrives in Congo to fight new Ebola outbreak

Experimental vaccine arrives in Congo to fight new Ebola outbreak

Experimental vaccine arrives in Congo to fight new Ebola outbreak

It also followed the announcement by Congo's health ministry of 11 newly confirmed cases in the smaller town of Bikoro, near the northwest village where the virus was first detected.

The new case of Ebola virus disease has been confirmed in Wangata, one of the three health zones of Mbandaka, a city of almost 1.2 million people in Equateur Province in northwestern Congo, the World Health Organization confirmed Thursday, CNN reported.

Previous reports of the disease had all been in remote areas where Ebola might spread more slowly.

Geneva - The World Health Organisation has raised its assessment of the public health risk that the Democratic Republic of Congo faces from Ebola.

"At present, this event does not meet the criteria of a public health event of global concern", who said.

Senior WHO official Peter Salama said the spread to Mbandaka meant there was the potential for an "explosive increase" in cases.

The city of about one million people is a transport hub on the River Congo, prompting fears that the virus could now spread further, threatening the capital Kinshasa and surrounding countries.

According to Seipone, symptoms of Ebola virus disease include a fever of acute onset (37.5oC) with unexplained bleeding tendencies from the nose (epistasis), gums, vagina, skin or eyes, bloody stools, vomiting and coughing blood, diarrhoea, deterioration of vision or decreased consciousness.

Ebola epidemics in Africa 1976-2017
Ebola epidemics in Africa 1976-2017

"There is absolutely no reason why this current outbreak should grow any further", said Dr Kamalini Lokuge, the head of the Australian National University's Humanitarian Research Program.

"This outbreak is very close to the Republic of Congo and Central African Republic". "Urban Ebola can result in an exponential increase in cases in a way that rural Ebola struggles to do".

WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti said Ebola spreading into an urban area is concerning and WHO along with its partners is working forward to find the voluntary contacts of confirmed Ebola cases in the Mbandaka region.

WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said on Friday that Congo's Ministry of Health had provided updated figures: 45 cases overall since April 4, including 14 confirmed, 10 suspected and 21 probable.

The outbreak tests the new experimental Ebola vaccine, which proved highly effective in the West Africa outbreak a few years ago.

This is the ninth Ebola outbreak in Congo since 1976, when the disease was first identified.

Humans can be infected by other humans if they come in contact with body fluids from an infected person or contaminated objects from infected persons.

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