Published: Fri, May 18, 2018
Medical | By Vernon Walton

Congo Announces 11 New Confirmed Ebola Cases

Congo Announces 11 New Confirmed Ebola Cases

An Ebola outbreak in Democratic Republic of the Congo has a high risk of spreading internally, the World Health Organization warned Friday ahead of a meeting on whether to declare it an event of global concern.

"Urban Ebola is a very different phenomenon to rural Ebola because we know that people in urban areas can have far more contacts so that means that urban Ebola can result in an exponential increase in cases in a way that rural Ebola struggles to do".

WHO Deputy Director-General for Emergency Preparedness and Response Peter Salama had told reporters on Thursday that the risk assessment was being reviewed.

The spread of the virus from rural areas into a city has raised fears it could quickly spread and become harder to control.


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.

Meanwhile, the public relations officer in the same ministry, Doreen Motshegwa, said their health officials are on high alert and have put measures in place to ward off the spread of the Ebola outbreak in the DRC. "All must be done to isolate the Ebola cases, especially since there has been a case in Mbandaka city", said Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides, who is also the EU Ebola Coordinator.

The WHO was fiercely criticised over its handling of the 2013 outbreak and has pledged to improve emergency response.

The ministry said just one person had been confirmed dead from the virus, but 25 people are suspected to have died from it.


Globally the risk of the outbreak spreading is classified as "low". The vaccination campaign would first target health workers.

Ebola is thought to be spread over long distances by fruit bats and is often transmitted to humans eating contaminated bushmeat - meat from wild animals such as monkeys or antelopes.

He said the disease could have been taken there by people who attended the funeral of an Ebola victim in Bikoro, south of Mbandaka, before travelling to the city.

By Tuesday, 527 contacts had been identified and were being followed up and monitored, it said. It was tested in Guinea during the outbreak that killed more than 11,300 people in West Africa from 2014 to 2016.


Moreover, WHO has deployed 4,000 experimental Ebola vaccines in DRC and more of the vaccines should reach DRC in the coming days.

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