Ebola outbreak threatens city of a million people in DR Congo

Эпидемия Эболы количество жертв неумолимо растет

However, according to him, now the health authorities "there is more money than before, to fight Ebola".

The WHO is deploying about 30 experts to conduct surveillance in the city and inform local communities on treatment and prevention methods in collaboration with the country's Ministry of Health.

"This all will, as you can imagine in this challenging environment, take some time to function optimally".

A panel will decide on Friday whether to declare a "public health emergency of worldwide concern", which would trigger a larger response.

"At least 44 people are believed to have been infected" during a new outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo, says the BBC, and "23 deaths are now being investigated". The case in Mbandaka is only the third confirmed case of the current outbreak; 20 others are probable, and 21 are suspected, bringing the total of potential cases to 44.

Ebola, a hemorrhagic disease which is endemic to tropical regions of sub-Saharan Africa, was identified in the 1970s, but historically claimed a relatively small number of lives, despite its mortality rates reaching as high as 50 percent, as its spread between isolated villages and towns was limited.

Until now, the cases and deaths were reported from the rural Bikoro health zone, almost 150 kilometers from Mbandaka, allowing authorities to attempt ring-fencing vaccinations in the the affected areas.

Only three cases, one of which was fatal, have been confirmed by laboratory tests since an outbreak of the virus was identified by the health ministry on May 8, however.

"The scenario has changed, and it has become most serious and worrying, since the disease is now affecting an urban area", said Henry Gray, emergency coordinator in Mbandaka for Doctors Without Borders.

The city of nearly 1.2 million is on the Congo River, a busy travel corridor in the vast country and upstream from the capital, Kinshasa, a city of about 10 million. "If we don't, then the virus may spread too far and too quickly".

"Medical teams have been rushing to track down anyone thought to have had contact with infected people", says Time magazine, "while World Health Organization is shipping thousands of doses of an experimental vaccine".

On Wednesday more than 4,000 doses of an experimental vaccine sent by the World Health Organization arrived in Kinshasa with another batch expected soon.

"This is a concerning development but we now have better tools than ever before to combat Ebola", Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, said of the new urban case. Someone sick with Ebola might not be able to provide a comprehensive list of everyone they've come in contact with.

The experimental vaccine has been shown to be highly effective against Ebola.

It can also be introduced into the human population through contact with the blood, organs or other bodily fluids of infected animals.

More than 11,000 people died in an Ebola outbreak that plagued the western African countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea for about 2 years from 2014.

Symptoms include fever, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle pain and internal and external bleeding.



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