Ebola outbreak worsens in DRC

Ebola outbreak worsens in DRC

However, the proximity of the affected area to the Congo River, which links to the Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic, increases the risk of cases occurring in neighboring countries. He said Friday that the World Health Organization plans to send up to 40 experts by the weekend and clear an airstrip for supplies.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO's director-general, told reporters Monday that the agency has received permission from Congo officials to import the vaccine, which he hopes would arrive by the end of this week.

The WHO has acknowledged its bungled handling of the massive outbreak, saying it failed to recognize early that the West African countries that severely lacked health infrastructures were at imminent risk.

The latest Ebola outbreak brings back memories of the epidemic that claimed 11,000 lives and infected 28,000 victims in West Africa from 2014 to 2016.

People have some of the same cultural practices that contributed to Ebola's explosive spread in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, including the common use of faith healers and burials that involve handling the body. Three health care workers are among the cases and one has died. The virus is then passed between humans through blood or bodily fluids, like saliva, sweat, urine, semen, or breast milk.

"We're concerned because this is a city of 1 million people", she said. There are no major roads. Salama said the area is about 15 hours away by motorbike from the closest town and lacks the necessary infrastructure, Reuters reported.

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"It's going to be tough, and it's going to be costly to stamp this out", Salama said. Of the 34 suspected cases, two were confirmed, 18 have been classified as probable and 12 remains suspected cases.

The UN agency is working with the country's Ministry of Health and global nongovernmental organization M-decins Sans Fronti-res to conduct ring vaccinations across the affected region, where contacts of those infected, followed by contacts of those contacts, would all be vaccinated.

"We must situate the index case in each site to see if the cases are linked or if they are separate epidemics", said Muyembe, who was in the team that researched the first recorded Ebola outbreak.

Researchers who tested it used the same strategy that was used to eradicate smallpox in the 1970s.

To date, 393 contacts have been identified and are being followed-up.

But the vaccine must be kept in especially cold conditions - far below the level of normal freezers - which makes transporting it in such a remote region a challenge.

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