The deadly virus Ebola, has resurfaced in the northwest part of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), killing 17 people,after raging in some West African countries several years ago.
Congo ’s health ministry on Tuesday described the fresh outbreak as a “public health emergency with international impact. Twenty-one cases of fever with hemorrhagic indications and 17 deaths” have been recorded in Equateur province, it said.
Recorded as Congo’s ninth known outbreak of Ebola since 1976 when the deadly viral disease was first identified in then-Zaire by a Belgian-led team. In Geneva, the World Health Organization (WHO) said lab tests in the DRC confirmed the presence of Ebola virus in two out of five samples collected from patients. “WHO is working closely with the government of the DRC to rapidly scale up its operations and mobilize health partners, using the model of a successful response to a similar to an outbreak in 2017,” it said in a statement.
A team of experts from the WHO, Doctors without Borders (DRC) and Equateur province traveled to Bikoro on Tuesday to beef up coordination and carry out investigations, it said.
The worst-ever Ebola outbreak started in December 2013 in southern Guinea before spreading to two neighboring West African countries, Liberia and Sierra Leone. That outbreak killed more than 11,300 people out of nearly 29,000 registered cases, according to WHO estimates, although the real figure is thought to be significantly higher.
There is no current vaccine to prevent Ebola or licensed treatment for it, although a range of experimental drugs is in development. Early care with rehydration may boost the chance of survival.