Corrected: Congo says another suspected death in latest Ebola outbreak

Posted May 12, 2018

World Health Organization says it's also deploying an experimental Ebola vaccine.

Uganda has began screening of all travellers from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), following the outbreak of the viral haemorrhagic fever in the neighbouring country.

Two cases of Ebola have been confirmed in the latest outbreak in a remote northwestern part of Congo.

"We are very concerned and planning for all scenarios, including the worst case scenario", Peter Salama, WHO's Deputy Director-General of Emergency Preparedness and Response, told a regular United Nations briefing in Geneva. But already there are three separate locations covering 60 km (37 miles) or more, and some of the victims were healthcare workers, potentially "an amplification factor" for outbreaks, Salama said. However, the disease is not as gruesome as has sometimes been reported (body organs don't liquiefy), which makes it hard to figure out what's Ebola and what's not.

He said the earlier event consisted of 15 cases and 8 deaths, and two samples from patients tested negative for Ebola.

According to the South Sudanese health ministry, the medical team is mandated to deal with any suspected case of Ebola for emergency testing and diagnose.

He said "We are also on a high alert; the ports, border officers as well as all the districts have been alerted to look out for the signs and symptoms of the virus". All of the deaths occurred before the outbreak was confirmed. Key partners, skilled in working in Ebola outbreak settings, have been mobilized, such as Doctors Without Borders, the WFP, UNICEF-which helps with communication and sanitation activities-and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, which helps perform safe burials.

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"We have mobilized volunteers and staff who have previous experience in fighting Ebola to work with the affected communities to prevent further spread of the disease", said Grégoire Mateso, President of the DRC Red Cross.

Ebola viruses are a group of particularly nasty viruses that have a significant burden across Africa.

World Health Organisation officials are preparing for the "worst case scenario", in other words, an epidemic or continent-wide pandemic.

They added there's no specific treatment for the deadly virus, but a new experimental vaccine has been shown to be highly effective.

The virus spreads through direct contact with bodily fluids from an infected person or even a primate or fruit bat.

Further, in order to mitigate the threat, the Ministry of Health has established the National Health Emergencies Council, whose role is, among others, to act expeditiously to prevent importation of Ebola virus disease or any other diseases of Public Health importance into Kenya.