UN working with DR Congo authorities to combat Ebola outbreak

5 September 2012

The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) is working with the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to control an outbreak of Ebola haemorrhagic fever, which has led to 14 deaths over the past week.

In a news release, WHO stated it had deployed epidemiologists and logisticians to support the DRC’s Ministry of Health, and is working closely with partners such as Médecins Sans Frontières and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to coordinate response efforts, monitor the situation, and provide information of the disease to the population.

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.

As of Monday, a total of 28 cases, including 14 deaths, had been reported from the Haut-Uélé district, in the country’s north-east. Three of the dead had been health care workers in the district’s capital, Isiro, according to the health agency.

Control activities that are being carried out by WHO and partners include enhanced surveillance and social mobilization to reinforce practices that would control infection.

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


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