Health

WHO blocked an Ebola outbreak


The World Health Organization is racing to vaccinate Africans and stop the possibility of this epidemic from breaking out on the continent.

The World Health Organization (WHO) on 12/2 confirmed the third Ebola case in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The WHO said it is not yet clear the origin of the first Ebola case, but it hopes to find out whether the new cases are linked to the Butembo outbreak in 2020.

Previously, WHO confirmed a woman died of Ebola, in Butembo, a city in North Kivu province and was the heart of the Ebola outbreak in June 2020. The patient had symptoms on February 1 and died in hospital on February 3. She was married to a man who had been infected with Ebola virus. According to Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO emergency health program, the agency confirmed two more cases, in which one person died.

Ryan said the population possibly exposed to the virus increased from more than 70 cases on Feb. 8 to 182 people on Feb. 12. Many people have been vaccinated against Ebola in previous outbreaks, he said.

A child was vaccinated against Ebola in Beni, Congo, on July 13, 2019. Image:AP

According to Ryan, there is a certain benefit in vaccination, but it is important to consider the length of time the vaccine is protective. He added that new batches of vaccines arrived at Butembo this week, preparations are also underway, including storage of equipment, medicine, and training of medical staff.

The DRC has enough vaccines for 16,000 people in the country, but it’s unclear how much Butembo is allocated. WHO still doesn’t know the origin of the first Ebola case. DRC’s National Biomedical Research Institute is sequencing virus samples at the Kinshasa laboratory to determine whether the new cases are associated with the previous Butembo outbreak.

WHO notes that efforts to respond to the outbreak in North Kivu province are particularly difficult given the ongoing violent conflicts in the region where more than 100 different armed groups are occupied, according to Human Rights Watch.

WHO is working with NGOs, the DRC government and other UN agencies such as UNICEF, to respond to new Ebola cases.

Unlike nCoV which is highly contagious by people without symptoms, Ebola is believed to be primarily spread through people who already have an obvious illness. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, viruses are spread through direct contact with the blood or body fluids of people who are sick or die of the disease. According to WHO, the average case mortality is 50%, although it can vary with outbreaks.

According to Ryan, the two and now the third cases involving Ebola does not seem like much when compared to Covid-19. However, WHO remains vigilant about the return of Ebola in eastern Congo. “WHO will do everything in its power to support the Congolese government against Ebola,” said Mr. Ryan.

Ebola is a viral disease with initial symptoms such as sudden fever, muscle aches, sore throat. Then the patient vomits, diarrhea, some cases may be bleeding inside and outside. The disease is spread through close contact with infected animals. Next, the virus will spread from person to person by direct contact with blood, body fluids or indirectly spread through contaminated environment. The incubation period lasts from 2 days to 3 weeks and is difficult to diagnose.

Bao Chau (Follow CNBC)

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