First Ebola death, 11 additional cases confirmed in Congo

Simon Moss
May 11, 2018

Correction from The Associated Press: Neither the death nor the new cases have been confirmed as Ebola, according to Congo's health ministry, who say that there are a total of nine new cases, not 11, as previously reported.

Two out of five suspected patients were tested positive for the epidemic at the National de Recherche Biomedicale in Kinshasa. Of the 21 initially reported cases on 8 May 2018, 17 had epidemiological links (potential contacts with another suspect case). The health ministry said that more specimen are being collected for testing.

Wellcome is working closely with members of the Global Research Collaboration for Infectious Disease Preparedness (GloPID-R) network. The world health body has already deployed its medical experts and is working closely to scale up its operations and to draw other health partners to the medical scene.

Peter Salama, WHO deputy director-general, emergency preparedness and response, welcomed the United Kingdom support.

World Health Organization will be deploying epidemiologists, logisticians, clinicians, infection prevention and control experts, risk communications experts and vaccination support teams in the coming days in addition to supplying technical needs such as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). All the neighbouring countries have been alerted.

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This is the ninth Ebola outbreak in DRC since 1976.

A source at the airport confirmed the development to our correspondent, saying, "Though relevant authorities especially the Port Health Services desk have been doing their job but with the directive coming from the government and the outbreak of the disease in Congo, all hands are now more on deck to arrest any eventuality". DRC experienced its last outbreak in 2017 in Likati Health Zone, Bas Uele Province. Based on the information now available and the rapid response measures implemented by the Ministry of Health in collaboration with WHO and partners, the event does not meet the criteria of a public heath event of worldwide concern as defined in the IHR (2005) 1, and does not warrant the convening of an Emergency Committee under the IHR (2005). The fatality rate stays at 50 per cent. The patients presented with fever, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, myalgia and arthralgia, and some also showed haemorrhagic signs and symptoms.

In later stages, however, an infected person may experience internal bleeding resulting in vomiting and coughing blood.

Tests have been carried out on the victims, but the type of disease has not been verified.

There is no specific treatment for Ebola, which is spread through the bodily fluids of people exhibiting symptoms.

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