Congo warns of new phase in Ebola outbreak after first urban case
Congo warns of new phase in Ebola outbreak after first urban case
A newly confirmed case of Ebola in a densely populated part of the country will complicate attempts to control the outbreak
17 May, 2018, 13:15
Equally alarming, it appears that this deadly virus is now spreading to a major city because reports confirm a case in the city of Mbandaka.
"This is the ninth Ebola outbreak in Congo in the last 40 years", explains Henry Gray, MSF emergency coordinator in Mbandaka.
The country's Health Minister Oly Ilunga Kalenga stated late on Wednesday that the nation's Ebola outbreak had now entered a "new phase". A first batch of 4,000 inoculations has arrived in the capital Kinshasa, with another 4,000 to follow soon after.
While this strategy is being put in place, the "pillars" of an Ebola intervention-early treatment and isolation of sick people; tracing and following up contacts; informing people about the disease, how to prevent it, and where to seek care; supporting existing health care; and temporarily changing cultural behavior around funerals-must continue in order to stem the spread of the disease.
The swift response to quickly tackle the outbreak is in contrast to the response to the 2014 outbreak, when worldwide agencies and governments were criticized for their slow response.
They would be kept in Kinshasa until a refrigerated transportation chain could be guaranteed.
Before Wednesday's announcement, there had been only two cases of the virus confirmed by lab tests.
Health workers have recorded confirmed, probable and suspected cases of Ebola in three health zones of Congo's Equateur province, and have identified 432 people who may have had contact with the disease.
Hence, it is essential that the central government - despite being weak - works with local institutions, the World Health Organizations, appropriate charities, and obtains knowledge from institutions and individuals who helped during the 2014-2016 crisis that blighted parts of West Africa.
The WHO said it had sent 300 body bags for safe burials in affected communities.
The vaccine requires storage at a temperature between -60 and -80 degrees C, tricky in a country with unreliable electricity.
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