One day after a Denver man was promptly quarantined after returning to the US from eastern Congo, where he was working with sick people, and became suddenly ill Sunday (he was subsequently cleared), a new Ebola virus outbreak has been confirmed in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, Governor Julien Paluku said on Wednesday, just one week after the country declared an end to a separate outbreak that killed 33 people in the northwest.
According to Reuters, the latest outbreak was found in the province of North Kivu, near the Congo’s border with Uganda.
Ebola virus confirmed in North Kivu,” Paluku wrote on Twitter. “I call for calm and prudence.”
Urgent!!!!Urgent!!!!! VIRUS à EBOLA confirmé en province du Nord Kivu, Territoire de BENI, agglomération de MANGINA. Le Min de la Santé vient de l’annoncer après confirmation des analyses à L’INRB. J’en appelle au calme et à la prudence. Les médias doivent faire large diffusion
— JULIEN PALUKU (@julienpalukucom) August 1, 2018
While authorities did not say how many cases had been detected, Congo’s health ministry said on Monday that it had found 25 cases of fever near the town of Beni and that samples had been sent to the capital Kinshasa for testing. Congolese and international health officials deployed an experimental vaccine during the last outbreak, which helped contain its spread after it reached a large river port city..
This is the central African country’s 10th outbreak of Ebola since 1976, when the virus was discovered near the eponymous river in the north.
In responding to this year’s outbreak in Congo, the world seemed to be better prepared – especially in comparison with the previous outbreak in West Africa. “One of the many painful lessons from the devastating West African Ebola epidemic of 2014 was that the world expected much more from the World Health Organization than it was then able to deliver,” WHO spokesman Tarik Jašarević said.
During that outbreak, 28,616 cases of Ebola virus disease and 11,310 deaths were reported in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. An additional 36 cases and 15 deaths occurred when the outbreak spread outside those three countries, according to the CDC.
“Since then, we have dedicated ourselves to ensuring that the world is better prepared, not only for Ebola but for the many high threat pathogens, including pandemic influenza, that can cross the species barrier, from animals to humans, at any moment,” Jašarević said.
As of now, WHO and other global health organizations are ensuring the end of the Ebola response in Congo and maintaining an increased vigilance to identify lessons learned and good practices in responding to such outbreaks moving forward, Jašarević said.
“Already, we can say we have contributed to improving surveillance systems, and for next time, will have in place protocols for vaccines and therapeutics,” he said. “Another legacy is capacity building, such as training vaccinators who will now not only be able to respond domestically but can also help neighboring countries, too.”
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