Congo's minister of health says the first death from a new outbreak of Ebola in the country's northwest has been confirmed along with 11 other cases of people sickened by the virus. The outbreak declaration came after laboratory results confirmed two cases of Ebola in the north-western region of DRC.
Ebola is already considered one of the most lethal pathogens in existence, and the new outbreak has been branded a "public health emergency".
"Of great concern to the Federal Executive Council is the outbreak of Ebola in DR Congo". Over 21 suspected viral haemorrhagic fever and 17 deaths have been reported around Ilkoko Iponge in the past five weeks.
The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has disclosed that the Federal Government of Nigeria has stepped up efforts at major global airports in the county to combat the spread of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD).
The Ebola virus is transmitted to humans from wild animals (monkeys, bats) and spreads in populations by human-to-human transmission: through direct contact with blood, secretions, organs or body fluids of infected persons or with surfaces or materials contaminated by this type of liquid, the World Health Organization explains.
"I think it is an epidemic that we will quickly master".
This latest outbreak marks the ninth time since 1976 that the Ebola virus disease has been found in the DRC.
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The WHO, Médecins Sans Frontières and Provincial Division of Health traveled today to Bikoro in an effort to stem the outbreak.
Further downstream the river flows past Kinshasa and Brazzaville, capital of Congo Republic - two cities with a combined population of over 12 million people.
This outbreak started back in December, about 20 miles from the town of Bikoro, in the province of Equateur, north-west DR Congo.
"WHO is working closely with the government of the DRC to rapidly scale up its operations and mobilize health partners, using the model of a successful response to a similar... outbreak in 2017", it said in a statement.
Ebola spreads to humans from animals such as bats, monkeys etc.
Ebola is best known and most feared for the internal and external bleeding it can cause in its victims, owing to damage done to blood vessels.
The study pointed out that the clinical vaccine candidates will need to be focused on health care workers who are often involved in disease transmission, potentially in combination with the vaccination of patient contacts.