3 dead, 6 hospitalised
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared an Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
At least three person have been reported dead after contracting the virus in the country’s north-east, the WHO says.
WHO statement reads:
“On 9 May, WHO was informed of a cluster of undiagnosed illness and deaths including haemorrhagic symptoms in Likati Health Zone, Bas Uele Province in the north of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), bordering Central African Republic.
“On 11 May, the Ministry of Health of the Democratic Republic of Congo informed WHO that of 5 laboratory samples tested, 1 tested positive for Ebola virus at the Institut National de Recherche Biomédicale (INRB) laboratory in Kinshasa. Additional laboratory samples are currently being tested.
“Since 22 April, nine suspected cases including 3 deaths have been reported. Six cases are currently hospitalized.
“”An investigation team led by the Ministry of Health and supported by WHO and partners has deployed and is expected to reach the affected area in the coming days”’, says Dr Peter Salama, WHO Executive Director for Emergencies.
“WHO and partners are supporting the Ministry of Health in all aspects of the response, including epidemiological investigation, surveillance, logistics and supplies, communications and community engagement.”
In a televised address, DRC’s health minister, Oly Ilunga Kalenga, warned that the outbreak was a “national health emergency with international significance” but urged people “not to panic”.
“As this is the eighth epidemic [of Ebola] that we are facing as a nation, we should not be rattled,” Kalenga said. “The ministry of health is taking all measures to respond quickly and efficiently to this new outbreak.”
The WHO’s in-country spokesperson, Eugene Kabambi, said regional health workers and protective equipment had already been rolled out to the remote area to contain the virus. Also, he said, a national team of personnel, along with experts and specialists from Médecins Sans Frontières, the US Centre for Disease Control, Unicef and WHO, will be following in the next few days.