Ebola cases on rise, reach 14 in DRC

Posted May 18, 2018

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. The EU's Copernicus Satellite will also provide emergency mapping services to assess the terrain and transport network in the area around Mbandaka and Bikoro. Congo's health ministry late Thursday said the total number of cases is 45, including 10 suspected and 21 probable ones.

Previously, confirmed cases had been limited to a remote area more than 100 miles south of Mbandaka, in the rain forest of Congo's Equateur province.

A newly confirmed case in a densely populated part of the country will complicate attempts to control the outbreak.

"This is a concerning development, but we now have better tools than ever before to combat Ebola", said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of WHO. "WHO and our partners are taking decisive action to stop further spread of the virus".

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Experts are alarmed by the spread of the virus to a major city.

"The confirmed case in Mbandaka, a large urban center located on major national and worldwide river, road and domestic air routes increases the risk of spread within the Democratic Republic of the Congo and to neighboring countries", the statement said.

The case was confirmed in Wangata, one of three health zones of Mbandaka, the capital of Equateur Province in northwestern Congo.

For a health crisis to constitute a global health emergency it must meet three criteria stipulated by WHO: It must threaten other countries via the worldwide spread of disease, it must be a "serious, unusual or unexpected" situation and it may require immediate worldwide action for containment.

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The Department of Health first reported the outbreak on May 8, the ninth the country has faced in the past four decades.

An emergency meeting was held by the World Health Organization on Friday in which it said that Ebola poses a "very high" risk to the Congo public. On Wednesday, the World Health Organization delivered 4,000 injections of an experimental vaccine with proven efficacy in recent trials, and more batches are expected soon. It was tested in Guinea during the outbreak that killed more than 11,300 people in West Africa from 2014 to 2016. AFP | Thousands of doses of Ebola vaccine arrived Wednesday in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which is facing an outbreak of the deadly virus, the health ministry said.

There is no specific treatment for Ebola, which is spread through the bodily fluids of people exhibiting symptoms or those who have died from the disease.

Henry Gray from Doctors Without Borders in Mbandaka said there are more than 500 people that have likely come into contact with those infected.

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