More Ebola cases as World Health Organization weighs emergency declaration

Maricruz Casares
Octubre 18, 2018

Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has convened an Emergency Committee under the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee on Ebola virus disease in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The crisis meeting would decide whether or not the outbreak constituted a public health emergency of global concern, and what recommendations should be made to manage the spread of the disease.

Aid workers on the frontline of the Ebola crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are being met with significant suspicion in many communities in North Kivu - contributing to the 33 new confirmed cases of the disease last week, the worst on record since this most recent outbreak began in August.

A plumber for the United Nations' peacekeeping mission in eastern Congo was confirmed to have Ebola on Friday, the first case of a U.N. worker contracting the disease during the current outbreak.

According to the DRC Ministry of Health, 73 patients have been treated with the experimental therapies mAb 114, Remdesivir, Zmapp or Regeneron in this outbreak. The WHO has not imposed any trade or travel restrictions in the Congo.

Deadly in about 50% of cases, it has no proven treatment and those who become sick with the illness are treated with fluids and rest - often in isolation in an attempt to prevent the spread of the virus. Furthermore, out of the new cases confirmed, at least 15 have been linked to known cases "or were linked retrospectively through case to transmission chains within the respective communities".

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More than 20 civilians in Beni were killed in the incident that provoked the suspension, which came on the heels of multiple attacks in previous weeks.

World Health Organization continued to warn that the recent spike in violent incidents in the areas was making response more hard.

There are concerns the outbreak could spread to neighboring countries like Uganda and Rwanda.

In a new approach to increase community engagement and surveillance integration, members of the community in 12 neighborhoods across the Beni Health Zone have partnered with health workers to promote prevention methods.

The UN children agency said it had identified more than 1,500 schools in the areas affected by the epidemic.

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