The latest Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DNC) has claimed 67 lives, up from 55, according to Robert Redfield, director of the CDC. On Friday the WHO said that the virus has spread to an area of “high security risk,” and that ongoing local conflicts have made finding and monitoring infected people extremely difficult.
“Really, in two weeks, we’ve gone from 24 cases to 105 cases,” said Redfield, who just returned from the hot zone where an outbreak centered in North Kivu is responsible for 105 confirmed or suspected cases, according to the Washington Post. There are currently 77 confirmed cases, 28 probable cases in which biological samples are not available for laboratory testing, while 3,000 people have received an experimental Ebola vaccine.
Total of 105 cases (77 confirmed & 28 probable), including 67 deaths. In addition, 10 suspect cases are under investigation https://t.co/aC1yUqAb6Z
— Peter Salama (@PeteSalama) August 25, 2018
Redfield said the rapid spread of the disease was primarily because many health workers at a hospital in the town of Mangina, where the outbreak started, contracted the virus after treating early patients without recognizing that they had Ebola. The disease spreads through contact with the bodily fluids of victims, putting health workers and patients’ family members at greatest risk, notes the Post.
“In the next couple of weeks, we’ll have greater clarity,” about the scope of the outbreak, said Redfield.
In response, neighboring Uganda has beefed up precautions at the border, making it more difficult for the roughly 19,000 people who travel from Congo’s North Kivu province across the border into the Ugandan town of Mpondwe to shop at an open-air market.
Uganda is determined to keep the deadly hemorrhagic fever from spreading to its side of the border. Before travelers are allowed through, they must step in small tubs of chlorinated water to disinfect their shoes, and their temperatures are taken with no-touch thermometer guns aimed at their temples.
Uganda moved quickly, imposing the precautions a week after the latest outbreak was declared Aug. 1. It has found six suspected cases at this crossing, but laboratory tests cleared them all. –WaPo
“So far, we have not gotten any case of Ebola,” Ithungu Honorata, a nurse who oversees the screening effort, said Friday. “But we don’t want it to come to Uganda.”
One bit of good news; two of the first 10 patients to receive an experimental Ebola treatment have recovered and have been released from isolation.
The two people received the mAb114 treatment isolated from a survivor of an Ebola outbreak in 1995. It was the first of five experimental treatments Congo approved for use in the outbreak that was declared on Aug. 1. The others are ZMapp, Remdesivir, Favipiravir and Regn3450 – 3471 – 3479. –WaPo
ℹ️Le Ministre de la Santé @OlyIlunga a assisté à la sortie de 2 patients guéris d’#Ebola à Mangina. Se rendre tôt au centre de #santé dès l’apparition des premiers symptômes augmente considérablement les chances de survie des personnes atteintes d’Ebola. pic.twitter.com/rmhygIdSKY
— Ministère de la Santé RDC (@MinSanteRDC) August 24, 2018
As part of the #Ebola response in Democratic Republic of Congo, 1.4 tons of medicines & other medical material were transported to the town of Beni on behalf @WHO: https://t.co/MOukd3PXiJ via @PAMRDC pic.twitter.com/pw8JvgU2bZ
— United Nations (@UN) August 24, 2018