Health Care

Ebola begins reaching cities in DRC

Ebola begins reaching cities in DRC

The outbreak of the deadly Ebola in Congo has spread from villages to cities, which caused concerns about loss of control over the disease, reports BBC. The leading health agency said the public health risk is "very high" at the national level and poses a "high" regional risk.

A priest prays outside Notre Dame Cathedral in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, February 25, 2018.

Confirmed cases of Ebola had previously been limited to a remote area more than 160km south of Mbandaka, in the rainforest of Congo's Equateur province.

One new case of Ebola virus disease has been confirmed in Mbandaka, a city with a population of about 1.2 million, World Health Organization confirmed on Thursday, according to the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN.

"This is a concerning development, but we now have better tools than ever before to combat Ebola", said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of WHO.

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Apart from World Health Organization and other United Nations agencies, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), as other humanitarian organisations, have teams on the ground, working to contain the outbreak.

Ebola has twice made it to Congo's capital in the past and was rapidly stopped.

When someone dies of Ebola, they are enormously infectious after death because their bodies are full of a huge number of virus particles. The WHO has sent 4,000 doses to Congo and said it will dispatch thousands more as needed in the coming days.

With the poor infrastructure and electricity supply in Congo, the only challenge that remains with the vaccine is that it has to store it in a cold temperature.

In total, according to the latest data, we are talking about 45 cases, including 14 cases confirmed.

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"We are entering a new phase of the Ebola outbreak that is now affecting three health zones, including an urban health zone", Ilunga said, adding he was anxious because Mbandaka is densely populated and at the crossroads of Equateur province. It is about 150 kilometers (93 miles) from Mbandaka. So far, Congolese medics have identified 44 suspected cases of Ebola, with three confirmed by lab tests. "Urban Ebola can result in an exponential increase in cases in a way that rural Ebola struggles to do".

Medical teams hurried to track down anyone thought to have had contact with infected people as this vast, impoverished nation - a veteran of eight previous Ebola outbreaks - for the first time is fighting the virus in an urban area.

At present, 514 people who may have been in contact with infected people have been notified by the national health authorities, and they are now under monitoring.

Experts are alarmed by the spread of the virus to a major city.

The U.N. children's agency said it was mobilizing hundreds of community workers to raise awareness on protection against the disease.

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