Ebola virus disease - Democratic Republic of the Congo

Ebola virus disease - Democratic Republic of the Congo

The new outbreak has so far been confined to a remote region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, but health authorities fear that the disease could quickly spread across borders into neighboring countries including Central African Republic and Nigeria - and from there to other continents and countries including the United States.

The WHO is still waiting on approval from the DRC to use the experimental Ebola vaccine, but plans for deployment are already under way as officials wait for a formal decision from the country's health ministry.

The WHO says neighbouring countries have been alerted about the outbreak but that the risk of the disease spreading was "moderate".

"Our country is facing another epidemic of the Ebola virus, which constitutes an worldwide public health emergency", the Democratic Republic of the Congo's health ministry said in a statement. By the time the outbreak was finally contained, more than 11,000 people had died.

Deputy Director-General of Emergency Preparedness and Response Peter Salama is reported by Reuters to have said that his outfit is "preparing for the worst-case scenario".

"However, early signs including the infection of 3 health workers, the geographical extent of the outbreak, the proximity to transport routes and population centres, and the number of suspected cases indicate that stopping this outbreak will be a serious challenge".

On Thursday, Congo announced another Ebola-linked death - the first since the rescissions request - and said that nine new cases had emerged.

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World Health Organization already has a team on the ground and is preparing to send up to 40 more specialists in epidemiology, logistics, contact tracing and other areas to the region in the coming week or so.

Congo's long experience of Ebola and its remote geography mean outbreaks are often localised and relatively easy to isolate.

Based on lessons learned in past outbreaks, the World Health Organization has already produced some technical materials in the local language and sent them to the area, Salama said.

An Ebola outbreak has been declared in the north-west of the Democratic Republic Congo. They will also receive a leaflet with information about Ebola and contact numbers of the surveillance officers. Family and friends who care for sick individuals are also at heightened risk for Ebola exposure.

Sawyer, a Liberian-American, died at a hospital and infected several health workers, including Stella Ameyo Adedavoh, a doctor who defied orders to allow him to leave the hospital and saved Nigeria from a mass outbreak in the process. "This situation worries us and requires an immediate and energetic response".

They added there's no specific treatment for the deadly virus, but a new experimental vaccine has been shown to be highly effective.

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