Published: Sun, May 14, 2017
Medicine | By Earnest Bishop

Ebola outbreak: Nigerian government calls for vigilance

"We are facing the epidemic of the Ebola virus, which is a public health emergency of global concern", said Public Health Minister Oly llunga Kalenga.

The Congo outbreak is the first since a three-month outbreak in 2014 that claimed 49 lives.

The epidemic, which is now small, is in remote Bas-Uele province, near the northern border with the Central African Republic. Jean-Jacques Muyembe-Tamfum, the director of the National Institute on Biomedical Research in Kinshasa, is well-known among Ebola experts for curbing the DRC's first outbreak in 1976, and many thereafter.

The previous outbreak of Ebola in the Central African country was in August 2014 in Boende region where the disease was brought under control where it started in Lokolia, now in Tshuapa province.

Ebola killed more than 11,300 people and infected some 28,600 from 2013 as it swept through the West African countries of Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia and caused alarm around the world. The last outbreak of the virus, in West Africa from 2014 to 2016, killed 11,325 people; the more than a dozen known outbreaks in the DRC have been less severe.

The organisation underlined the importance of tracing people who had contact with confirmed victims to prevent the disease spreading.

The WHO was first informed of a cluster of undiagnosed illness and deaths including haemorrhagic symptoms on May 9. Other samples are still being tested, and six people remain hospitalised. There have been nine cases of suspected Ebola since April 22, including three deaths in Likati, for a case-fatality rate of 33%.

It adds, "Two contacts of this case are being investigated: a person who took care of him during transport to the health care facility, he has since developed similar symptoms, and a moto-taxi driver who transported the patient to the health care facility".

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So far, three fatalities have been reported and was said to have contracted the virus in the north east of the country.

The cases were found in the Likati district.

"We urge you not to give in to panic", Congo Health Minister Oly Ilunga Kalenga told the country in a televised address.

World Health Organization is working with the government to coordinate a response.

"The WHO has also drawn up a comprehensive logistics plan to meet urgent requirements".

"The area in Likati is hard to access, but the work of tracing contacts is very crucial to stopping the epidemic in its tracks", he said.

"It is imperative that the United States and other countries be able to catch and respond to outbreaks at any time and we must be sure we're doing everything to prevent diseases from entering and spreading in the USA", said Duchin, an allergy and infectious diseases professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Washington's School of Public Health in Seattle.

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