Ebola outbreak declared in Democratic Republic of Congo may spread


For now, the rare and deadly disease has been confined to the Democratic Republic of Congo in central Africa. But it may spread.

At least 50 percent of those who contract the Ebola virus die within days.

The Ebola virus disease, which affects people and nonhuman primates such as monkeys, gorillas and chimpanzees, is caused by one of five Ebola viruses.

Ebola doctor in Liberian unit
Ebola doctor in Liberian unit

The virus is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission.

The government in DRC declared an outbreak of Ebola hemorrhagic fever, a rare and deadly disease, on Tuesday, according to the World Health Organization.

Laboratory results confirmed two cases of the disease in the province of Bikoro in the northwestern part of the country.

In a statement on Tuesday, the government said the Ministry of Health has “taken all necessary measures to respond promptly and effectively to this new epidemic of Ebola in the DRC’s national territory”.

In the past five weeks, there have been 21 suspected cases of viral hemorrhagic fever, including 17 deaths.

“We will gather more samples, conduct contact tracing, engage the communities with messages on prevention and control, and put in place methods for improving data collection and sharing,” said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO’s regional director for Africa. “WHO will work closely with health authorities and partners to support the national response.”

Already, several governments across Africa have taken steps to prevent the virus from spreading.

The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria said this week that everything had been put in place to fight the virus.

This is the ninth outbreak of Ebola virus disease in the DRC since the discovery of the virus in the country in 1976.

The last outbreak occurred there in 2017 in the northern Bas Uele province. But, it was
quickly contained due to joint efforts by the government, the WHO and other partners.

Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba
Based in Washington DC, Simon Ateba is a journalist providing daily answers to questions readers have about the continent of Africa. With over 10 years of experience, Simon has covered many beats, including politics, business, aviation and IT. Currently, Simon manages a team of reporters and freelance journalists to run TODAY NEWS AFRICA. Email: simonateba@todaynewsafrica.com

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