11th Ebola Outbreak Announced
The government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) announced that a new outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) is occurring in the Wangata health zone, Mbandaka, in Équateur province.
This World Health Organization (WHO) statement on June 1, 2020, comes as the Ebola outbreak in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo is in its final phase.
Initial information from the Ministry of Health is that 6 Ebola cases have been detected in Wangata. Three of these EVD cases have been confirmed with laboratory testing.
‘It is likely more people will be identified with the disease as surveillance activities increase.’
Moreover, 4 of these EVD infected people have died.
“This is a reminder that COVID-19 is not the only health threat people face,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.
“Although much of our attention is on the COVID-19 disease pandemic, the WHO is continuing to monitor and respond to many other health emergencies.”
This is the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s 11th outbreak of Ebola since the virus was first discovered in the country in 1976.
The DRC’s 10th outbreak of Ebola, in North Kivu, South Kivu and Ituri provinces, is in its final stages. Declared during August 2018, there have been 3,463 EVD cases (3317 confirmed and 146 probable).
Of these, 2,280 people died and 1,171 survived.
The city of Mbandaka and its surrounding area were the sites of DRC’s 9th Ebola outbreak, which took place from May to July 2018.
“It’s happening at a challenging time, but WHO has worked over the last two years with health authorities, Africa CDC and other partners to strengthen national capacity to respond to outbreaks,” said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.
“To reinforce local leadership, WHO plans to send a team to support scaling up the response. Given the proximity of this new outbreak to busy transport routes and vulnerable neighboring countries, we must act quickly.”
New outbreaks of Ebola are expected in the DRC given the existence of the virus in an animal reservoir in many parts of the country.
The DRC is located in central Africa, and is home to about 84 million residents.
To alert international travelers to their health risk when visiting the DRC, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a Level 2 Travel Alert on April 20, 2020.
The risk of Ebola infection for most travelers to DRC is low.
Only those going to the outbreak area or who otherwise have contact with a person with Ebola are at risk.
Travelers could become infected if they come into contact with blood or body fluids from an infected person.
The CDC suggests prospective visitors to the DRC speak with a healthcare provider prior to departing abroad.
Furthermore, upon returning to the USA, notify your healthcare facility’s infection control or occupational health professional of your recent travel and self-monitoring activities (if you will be caring for patients in a US health care facility during your 21-day self-monitoring period).
Ebola Disease Overview
Ebola, also known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever, is a rare and deadly disease that periodically causes outbreaks in several African countries.
It is spread by contact with blood or body fluids of a person infected with the Ebola virus. It is also spread by contact with contaminated objects or infected animals.
Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle pain, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, and unexplained bleeding or bruising.
There is no US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved or widely available vaccine or specific treatment for Ebola.
However, two vaccines have been deployed in Africa.
The ERVEBO is a recombinant, replication-competent Ebola vaccine, consisting of a vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV), which has been genetically engineered to express a glycoprotein from the Zaire ebolavirus so as to provoke a neutralizing immune response to the Ebola virus.
And, Zabdeno (Ad26.ZEBOV) and Mvabea (MVA-BN-Filo) Ebola vaccine therapy consist of 2 components. The prime-boost vaccination method is an established approach for the prevention of infectious diseases.
Vax-Before-Travel publishes Ebola outbreak news.