UN deploy Ebola specialists in Congo, again.
The Democratic Republic of Congo and UN agencies began deploying emergency teams of experts this weekend to attempt and hopefully prevent the spread of Ebola outbreak suspected to have infected over 30 individuals already, they said.
The most recent Suspected case was reported Friday in the north-western province of Equateur, which Health Minister Oly Ilunga Kalenga visited on Saturday with representatives of the World Health Organisation and UN Children’s Fund. “We’ve pooled our efforts fast and align ourselves with the government’s response plan to fight this new epidemic efficiently”, Kalenga was quoted as saying at a joint statement following their visit to the country capital on Sunday.
Congo first reported the outbreak, centered around the village of Ikoko Impenge, near the city of Bikoro, on Tuesday, with 32 suspected, probable or confirmed cases of the illness, including 18 deaths since April 4. Some deaths occurring as early as January haven’t been connected to the outbreak. Officials are racing to prevent the virus from spreading out of control like occurred in West Africa from 2014-216 when the Ebola virus had killed over 11,300 individuals in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.
The WHO was criticised for ‘effing up its response during that outbreak, and has moved fast this time around. Congo has suffered eight Ebola epidemics before, but owing to distant geography and poor transport links they’ve tended to fizzle out as opposed to spread becoming a national catastrophe. This outbreak’s proximity to the Congo River, a significant transport route, and lifeline both to Congo’s capital Kinshasa and also to neighboring Congo Republic’s capital Brazzaville makes it increasingly likely the virus could break out into a larger area. WHO said on Friday that it hopes to deploy an “experimental Ebola vaccine” (wink wink) to combat the outbreak.