Friday, 19 October, 2018

Traditional Congolese Healers, Key to Fight Ebola in DRC

Congo confirms another Ebola case as outbreak hits 1-month mark Congo says new confirmed Ebola case; outbreak marks 1 month
Samantha Long | 10 June, 2018, 21:31

UNICEF said June 5 that almost 300,000 people had been screened since the Ebola outbreak was confirmed May 8 by the World Health Organization.

The deadly virus has killed 27 people since the outbreak began in April, and there have been 62 cases, 38 of which were confirmed in a laboratory.

The Ministry of Health, together with the World Health Organization (WHO), Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), and other worldwide organizations, have been carrying out a vaccination campaign in the three areas for the past two weeks, and about 1,400 people have already been vaccinated.

An Ebola health worker at Bikoro Hospital, Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Phase one of the disease response was about protecting the urban centres and towns and that had gone well, Salama said, but phase two, tackling the remote forested areas, was an enormous logistical effort that would go on for weeks.

"There's been very strong progress in the outbreak response, particularly in relation to two of three sites", Salama said.

The Ebola outbreak coincides with political tension in Congo over preparations for long-postponed December elections as well as violence by armed groups in several provinces.

Pentagon Plans to Release Detained US Citizen Into Syria
A federal appeals court in Washington agreed and upheld another court order blocking the suspect's transfer to another country's custody.

Mbandaka, in northwest DRC, has a population of around one million.

Phase 2 of the vaccination campaign will turn the focus of the response to rural and isolated communities, "some of the most remote territories on earth" and home to "indigenous" and "marginalized" populations, he said. Bikoro health zone and Wangata health zone both reported their last confirmed case in mid-May.

On the front lines of the outbreak, health officials use a tool called contact tracing to break the chain of transmission of the Ebola virus.

However, the Congolese government is considering other experimental treatments that it is evaluating for use.

The disease, which is transmitted by direct contact with the blood and body fluids of infected people or animals, causes severe bleeding and can have a mortality rate of 90%.

"It's clearly very hard to evaluate efficacy of Ebola products in outbreaks", said Moorthy, who said scientists rely on efficacy data derived from experiments in non-human primates (monkey models). "But we know to never underestimate Ebola".

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