Ebola: WHO records 62 cases, 27 deaths in Congo

Modesto Morganelli
Giugno 10, 2018

Thirty-eight of the cases are laboratory confirmed, 14 are probable and 10 are suspected. Over the past month, 27 of these individuals have died.

Emergency Health Chief, Peter Salama, said this at a news conference in Geneva.

"It's stabilising. We're optimistic, cautiously optimistic", he told Reuters.

An Ebola health worker at Bikoro Hospital, Democratic Republic of the Congo.

World Health Organization is now entering a new phase in which it moves its focus from urban areas to the extremely remote forest areas in north-western Congo where the outbreak began.

The Ebola outbreak coincides with political tension in Congo over preparations for long-postponed December elections as well as violence by armed groups in several provinces. In summary, there has been very strong progress in outbreak response, " Salama said.

WHO has been working with the Ministry of Health and global partners, including M-decins Sans Fronti-res (Doctors Without Borders) to inoculate only those people at high risk of infection: primary and secondary contacts.

"It's extremely likely the vaccine has had a positive effect", said Salama, basing his assessment on the fact that in Mbandaka there have been no confirmed cases since mid-May and a large portion of contacts have been vaccinated there.

In contrast to previous Ebola outbreaks, health workers have moved quickly to halt the spread of the virus by vaccinating everybody who has had contact with Ebola patients, and everybody who has had contact with those primary contacts. The virus enters the body through broken skin or mucous membranes in the eyes, nose or mouth.

"Phase one, to protect urban centers and towns, has gone well and we can be cautiously optimistic".

Through this plan, WHO will closely work with the Ministries of Health and wider government stakeholders, the intersectoral and interagency mechanisms and partners and will leverage the emergency mechanisms in place including Emergency Medical Teams, Health Clusters, and GOARN.

"We have added cause for optimism because now we have reached... more than 98 percent of the contacts with vaccination", Salama said.

"Contact tracing has been a huge challenge in this hard-to-reach area", Salama said, describing Iboko as a remote community in a heavily forested part of the DRC.

He warned, however, that experts are not in a position to document all chains of transmission of the virus, so "there may still yet be unknown chains out there and there may still be surprises in this outbreak".

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