WHO's leader to visit Congo this weekend amid Ebola outbreak

WHO says mass vaccinations won't prevent Ebola outbreaks

Democratic Republic of Congo's Health Minister Oly Ilunga on Thursday announced a suspected death from Ebola in a new outbreak of the disease and said nine other new suspected cases had also emerged. The country was struck by a smaller outbreak previous year.

Laboratory results confirmed two cases of the disease in the province of Bikoro in the northwestern part of the country. Healthcare workers are among those reported to be infected.

World Health Organisation officials are preparing for the "worst case scenario", in other words, an epidemic or continent-wide pandemic.

"We are preparing for all scenarios", the United Nations health agency said in a statement.

Ebola viruses are a group of particularly nasty viruses that have a significant burden across Africa. So far, only two people have tested positive for the virus.

Medical experts say the virus is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission, either through direct contact with bodily fluids such as blood or secretions, organs, sweat, urine, tears, semen, or contact with materials that are contaminated with these liquids.

"If we see a town of that size infected with Ebola, then we are going to have a major urban outbreak", he warned. Ebola infection could look like malaria or typhoid fever, for example.

In December 2016, trials of an Ebola vaccine found that the shot gave high levels of protection against a strain of the deadly disease.

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Amaju Pinnick, on Friday insisted that the friendly game with DR Congo would go ahead despite the anxiety raised by the Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Folorunso Adewole.

In its latest Disease Outbreak News, WHO lists the risks to surrounding countries as moderate.

"We started well, and now we need to continue well, and we'll need the support of the entire worldwide community for this response", he said.

There was an Ebola outbreak in 2014 in West Africa which killed 11,000 people - mainly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. In fact, during the large West Africa outbreak, another Ebola popped up in the DRC (66 cases) and was promptly detected and contained.

Earlier in the week, former Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance chief Jeremy Konyndyk told The Hill that the funds should stay in place in case of a new outbreak.

The WHO said it is ready to deploy an experimental vaccine campaign but it waiting to receive permission from DRC authorities.

The DRC has the means to diagnose the virus locally, get boots on the ground, and contain the spread and treat sick people.

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