CDC Travel Alert Level 2 Issued for African Ebola Outbreak
Africa Ebola Outbreak May Need More Merck Vaccines
The World Health Organization (WHO) announced the current Ebola outbreak in central Africa has expanded.
Previously, all of the Ebola cases during this outbreak were located in Bikoro, which is a remote African region.
As of May 15, 2018, there have been 44 cases reported: 3 confirmed, 20 probable, and 21 suspected have been reported near Mbandaka.
This new Ebola case was confirmed in Wangata, one of the three health zones of Mbandaka, a city of nearly 1.2 million people in Equateur Province, in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Which, according to the WHO, significantly increases the population risk of this outbreak.
Additionally, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Travel Alert Level 2 related to this outbreak. The CDC says travelers to the Bikoro area could be infected if they come into contact with an infected person’s blood or body fluids.
The CDC has issued recommendations for air travel staff visiting central Africa. If possible, separate the sick traveler from others by 6 feet or move adjacent passengers without compromising flight safety or exposing additional passengers.
If a flight staff notices a passenger exhibiting Ebola symptoms, the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations [42 CFR 70.11 and 71.21] contain requirements for reporting death and illness to CDC that occur on domestic flights between U.S. states and territories, and on international flights arriving to the United States.
If USA based travelers have vaccine questions, they can schedule a travel vaccine appointment with a local healthcare provider here.
"The arrival of Ebola in an urban area is very concerning and WHO and partners are working together to rapidly scale up the search for all contacts of the confirmed case in the Mbandaka area," said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.
WHO is also working with Médecins Sans Frontières.
The WHO said it will deploy 30 experts to carry out surveillance in the city.
Additionally, the WHO confirmed 4,000 doses of Merck’s Ebola vaccine rVSV-ZEBOV are being sent to Bikoro.
Previously, Merck had committed 300,000 doses of this vaccine for emergency use.
Which may be needed soon, if this Ebola outbreak continues to expand.
“Confirmation of urban Ebola in DRC is a game changer in this outbreak — the challenge just got much much tougher,” Dr. Peter Salama, the WHO’s deputy director-general for emergency preparedness and response, said on Twitter.
Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) is a rare and deadly disease in people and nonhuman primates. The viruses that cause EVD are located mainly in sub-Saharan Africa.
People can get EVD through direct contact with an infected animal (bat or nonhuman primate) or a sick or dead person infected with Ebola virus.