Congo Ebola cases present high national but low global risk

WHO Confirms Ebola Outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Peter Salama, the WHO's executive director for health emergencies, said the agency's risk assessment on the outbreak was that it is high at a national level, medium at regional level and low at global level. On 15 May, there were 20 cases reported, two confirmed by laboratory test and 3 deaths. It is also an area that has been subject to insecurity and displacement.

And the Lord's Resistance Army, a violent and disruptive armed group, has been operating in the area, World Health Organization added.

"However we can not underestimate the logistic and practical challenges associated with this response in a very remote, insecure part of the country", he said. "But as of now, we do not know full extent of the outbreak".

The first known case occurred on April 22, when a 39-year-old man who had fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and bleeding died on the way to a hospital in the Likati zone. Yesterday, the first Ebola treatment center opened in the Lakati public hospital.

The Ebola outbreak in the far north near the border with Central African Republic is the eighth in Congo since 1976.

Finally today, encouraging news from researchers in the United Kingdom: Despite reporting several "near misses" and possible exposures, foreign health care responders who traveled to West Africa during the 2014-2016 outbreak had nearly no Ebola antibodies in oral fluid samples.

But Moeti said she's "optimistic" that the outbreak will be halted quickly. This fund has been deployed by World Health Organization to help tackle the current crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The campaign against the virus is expected to cost 10 million dollars over the next six months, according to WHO.

This electron micrograph file image shows an Ebola virus virion.

In order to employ it as an experimental vaccine, World Health Organization needs to seek the permission of the national regulatory authority in the Democratic Republic of Congo to use the treatment under what Salama called an "expanded access framework for compassionate use". Their immediate priority is to follow the 400 plus contacts of the suspected Ebola cases.

"As you can imagine, in an area without telecommunications, without road access, without large-scale electrification, this is going to be an enormous challenge", Salama said. "A team of experts is on standby for deployment to respond to the emergency based on the needs on the ground as we work on the modalities with the government authorities in the DRC and coordinate with the [World Health Organization] and partners".

During that epidemic, a vaccine made by Merck was successfully tested in hard-hit Guinea.

"The preparations are in place".

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