DRC Govt Confronts Ebola as New Cases Test Positive at Entebbe's UVRI

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In short
Cases of Ebola continue to rise in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as government continues to find ways to control the outbreak of the haemorrhagic fever, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said.

Cases of Ebola continue to rise in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as government continues to find ways to control the outbreak of the haemorrhagic fever, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said.

As of August 28, 2012, a total of 24 cases and 11 deaths had been reported from the Orientale Province. Of these, six are confirmed, another six are described as probable while 12 are suspected.

The reported cases and deaths occurred in three health zones of Isiro, Viadana and Dungu. WHO says the fatal cases in Isiro include three health-care workers. All alerts have been investigated and so far there has been no Ebola suspected or confirmed case reported from outside Province Orientale.

Initial samples were tested by Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) in Entebbe, and three samples taken from two patients were confirmed for Ebola virus, diagnosed as Ebola subtype Bundibugyo.

An outbreak of the virus in Kibaale district in Uganda a month ago left 17 people dead. But WHO says there is currently no indication that the Ebola outbreak in Congo is related to the one in Kibaale.

US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has established a field laboratory in Isiro to support case management and epidemiological investigations. A National Task Force convened by the Congolese Ministry of Health is working with several partners including WHO, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and CDC to control the outbreak.

A joint emergency response team is in the field to conduct a detailed epidemiological investigation and case management. WHO says it has deployed epidemiologists and logisticians from AFRO regional office and WHO headquarters to support the Congolese government in the areas of coordination, surveillance, epidemiology, logistics for outbreak, public information and social mobilization.

Control activities that are being carried out include active case finding and contact tracing, enhanced surveillance, case management, public information and social mobilization and reinforcing infection control practices.

WHO does not, however, recommend that any travel or trade restrictions be applied to DRC.

According to WHO, there are five identified subtypes of Ebola virus, which have been named after the location they have been first detected in Ebola outbreaks. Three subtypes of the five, including Ebola-Zaire, Ebola-Sudan and Ebola-Bundibugyo, have been associated with large Ebola haemorrhagic fever (EHF) outbreaks in Africa. EHF is a feverish haemorrhagic illness which causes death in 25-90% of all cases. The Ebola Reston species, found in the Philippines, can infect humans, but no illness or death in humans has been reported to date.

 

Tagged with: ebola outbreak