UN working to combat Ebola outbreak in DR Congo as cases increase

A nurse comforts a patient who has been diagnosed to have the Ebola virus. Photo: WHO/Chris Black

18 September 2012 – The United Nations health agency today said it is continuing to work with authorities from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to stop an Ebola outbreak from spreading, with the number of detected cases having reached 46 in the past week.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), of the 46 cases, 19 have been fatal. The cases reported are from the health zones of Isiro and Viadana in the Haut-Uélé district in Province Orientale. Additionally, 26 suspected cases have been reported and are being investigated.

The Ebola virus is transmitted by direct contact with the blood, secretions, other bodily fluids or organs of infected persons or animals such as chimpanzees, gorillas, monkeys and antelopes, and it has an incubation period of two to 21 days.

Sufferers can experience fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headaches and a sore throat, as well as vomiting, diarrhoea, rashes and impaired kidney and liver function. In the most severe cases, the virus leads to both external and internal bleeding.

In a news release, WHO said it is working with the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network to provide support by deploying experts to the field to work with partners in the areas of infection prevention and control, surveillance, epidemiology, and social mobilization, as well as coordinating logistics for outbreak response.

In addition, the country’s ministry of health is working on an epidemiological investigation to identify all possible chains of transmission of the illness and ensure that appropriate measures are taken to interrupt the transmission, and stop the outbreak.

WHO has stated that there is no indication that this outbreak is related to the Ebola outbreak in the Kibaale district of Uganda in July, which killed 17 people, and added that it does not recommend that any travel or trade restrictions be applied to the DRC.


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UN working with DR Congo authorities to combat Ebola outbreak

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