400 contacts being traced in Congo's Ebola outbreak

400 contacts being traced in Congo's Ebola outbreak

400 contacts being traced in Congo's Ebola outbreak

The African Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently activated its Emergency Operational Centre in response to the recently-declared Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in order to develop a concept of operations for the emergency.

"However, we can not underestimate the logistical and practical challenges associated with this response in a very remote, insecure part of the country", said Dr. Peter Salama, executive director of WHO's health emergencies program.

Mr. Salama said the risk to the wider world remains low, since Congo has a "proven track record of managing Ebola outbreaks". Indeed, in 2014, while the world's attention was fixed on the explosive epidemic in West Africa, Congolese officials "quietly got on with dealing with an outbreak" of 66 cases in another remote area that eventually took 49 lives.

That's despite the difficulty of reaching the outbreak locale in Bas Uele province, about 100 miles from the provincial capital of Buta over a single road so bad cars can only go about two thirds of the way before travelers must switch to motorbikes, Moeti told reporters in a telephone media briefing. Of the two with reactive oral fluid samples, one was negative on further blood testing and the other had conflicting results on follow-up assays. Health and care workers are also being provided with protective equipment.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States is also sending a renowned Ebola expert, Dr. Pierre Rollin, to Congo, along with epidemiologists, a spokeswoman said. WHO then promised to introduce a series of reforms, including the establishment of a contingency fund to enable the organization to respond more rapidly to disease outbreaks.

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The campaign against the virus is expected to cost 10 million dollars over the next six months, according to WHO.

The vaccinations, which will not be provided to the general population but only to current cases' contacts, need to be kept at -80 degrees centigrade.

He also said there are only 20 kilometres of paved roads in that area and virtually no functional telecommunications.

This week, the organization said that it is now making preparations to use the controversial vaccine, though it has not yet made a firm decision on whether to deploy it. "They have been the people who are leading surveillance in the country", Moeti said. "I'm very optimistic it is going to get us to where we'd like to be: a controlled, short-lived outbreak of Ebola as they have seen in the past in this country".

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