- The WHO has voiced its concerns that the current outbreak may spread beyond the Democratic Republic of Congo
- Efforts are in place to combat the disease which include an experimental vaccine to reduce the spread of the deadly disease
- Africa has experienced a number of Ebola outbreaks between 2013 and 2016
The Democratic Republic of Congo is in the grips of an Ebola outbreak which threatens to spill over its borders into neighbouring countries. This comes after a warning by the World Health Organization (WHO) which escalated the risk of the deadly disease spreading to 'very high'.
Between 4 April and 15 May the WHO identified 45 cases of Ebola, the organisation was able to confirm 14 of the cases and a total number of 25 deaths have been reported.
Briefly.co.za learned that trying to contain the disease is an extremely difficult task. The WHO identified 527 people who came into contact with people who were believed to be infected with the disease according to allafrica.com.
Ebola is one of the world's deadliest viruses and an experiemental vaccine has been introduced to combat the outbreak. 4000 doses of the vaccine have arrived and have been distributed to parts of the Congo where the United Nations is trying to halt the spread of the disease.
Three suspected cases, as well as one confirmed case, were reported in Mbandaka, a city with a population of over 700 000 people.
"The confirmed case in Mbandaka, a large urban center located on major national and international river, road and domestic air routes increases the risk of spread within the Democratic Republic of the Congo and to neighbouring countries," the WHO reported.
The current outbreak is the same strain as the outbreaks which struck African countries between 2013 and 2016 which killed over 11,300 people. Due to lessons learned from those outbreaks the WHO is in a far better position and better equipped to handle the current outbreak.
The disease has a mortality rate as high as 90% and causes high fevers and bleeding. The current method of treatment involves isolating patients and administering fluids to combat dehydration and fever. This can help improve the patients chance to survive and reduce the risk of the disease spreading.
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