Kenya on high Ebola alert over DRC outbreak, to screen travellers


Democratic Republic of Congo's Health Minister Oly Ilunga on Thursday announced the first confirmed Ebola death in a new outbreak of the disease and said 11 other people are now confirmed to be infected. The country confirmed two laboratory-tested cases of Ebola.

Tthe deadly Ebola virus made a comeback to the continent after the Democratic Republic of Congo declared its presence on Tuesday. "The Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) will also consider sending some team to DR Congo as part of building capacity to managing the outbreak", he said.

More than 11,000 people died in almost 30,000 confirmed cases in that outbreak, according to the World Health Organisation.

"Our country is facing another epidemic of the Ebola virus, which constitutes an worldwide public health emergency", Congo's ministry said in a statement.

But the World Health Organization today also stated there has been 21 suspected cases since the start of April, including 17 deaths - all of which occurred before the outbreak was confirmed.

"But what is also particularly important was that on Monday, blood samples from five patients in the DRC, particularly in a district in DRC, two of the five cases, Ebola was actually confirmed".

The last outbreak in Congo was in 2017 May and it killed four out of eight individuals in the Bas-Uele province, northeast Congo.

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WHO released $1 million (£738,200) from an emergency contingency fund, has set up a coordination group and deployed more than 50 experts to work with the DRC government and health agencies. It is in the DRC that the Ebola virus was discovered in 1976.

According to the ministry, it was on May 3, 2018 that the provincial health division of Equateur reported at the central level of the Ministry of Health 21 cases of fever with signs and 17 deaths in the Ikoko Impenge health area located in the province.

Ebola is often fatal if untreated.

Ebola spreads to humans from animals such as bats, monkeys etc.

It revealed that very high proportions of potentially affected populations would need to be protected by vaccination to establish herd immunity, i.e. the level of immunity that prevents virus transmission within a population.

The WHO said that it is working closely with the DRC government to contain the spread of the viral disease.

The 2014 worldwide Ebola response drew criticism for moving too slowly and prompted an apology from the WHO.