Ebola outbreak ‘ongoing’ although WHO can be ‘cautiously optimistic’

“The outbreak can be ongoing,” said Dr. Peter Salama, WHO deputy director-general of emergency preparedness in addition to response, in a webcast on Twitter. Salama said he can be “cautiously optimistic.”

Ebola virus disease, which causes fever, severe headache in addition to in some cases hemorrhaging, most commonly affects people in addition to nonhuman primates, such as monkeys, gorillas in addition to chimpanzees. The current outbreak can be caused by the Zaire ebolavirus, one of a few separate subtypes in addition to the one with the highest mortality rate, ranging by 60% to 0%, according to WHO.

Beginning with the 1976 discovery of Ebola in an area which can be currently the Democratic Republic of Congo, the country has experienced nine outbreaks.

from the past week, one brand-new person was confirmed to suffer by the hemorrhagic disease in Iboko, along using a few suspected cases, including two in Bikoro in addition to three in Wangata, all regions within the Equateur province. Equateur has an estimated population of 2.5 million spread among 16 health zones, according to WHO.

Salama’s optimism arises by the fact which there have been no brand-new reports of illness in Mbandaka, the Equateur province capital, which boasts a population of 1.2 million.

“What This specific can be telling us can be the response (the WHO’s vaccination program) can be having an impact in those two locations,” said Salama.

‘Positive effect’

Since the launch of the vaccination program on May 21, 1,826 people have been vaccinated, the Ministry of Health of the Democratic Republic of Congo reported Wednesday. This specific figure includes 673 people in Mbandaka, 398 in Bikoro, 725 in Iboko, in addition to 30 in Ingende, also located from the Equateur province.

WHO has been working with the Ministry of Health in addition to international partners, including Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) to inoculate only those people at high risk of infection: primary in addition to secondary contacts.

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“the idea’s extremely likely the vaccine has had a positive effect,” said Salama, basing his assessment on the fact which in Mbandaka there have been no confirmed cases since mid-May in addition to a large portion of contacts have been vaccinated there.

Still, everyone remains on “high alert,” he said, adding which two brand-new confirmed cases in Iboko at the end of May in addition to just one case on June 2 “tells us a lot about why we need to refocus our response.”

Ebola virus spreads through direct contact with either bodily fluids or objects contaminated by someone ill with the disease, according to the US Centers for Disease Control in addition to Prevention. In some cases, the virus can be spread by contact with someone who has died by the disease. The virus enters the body through broken skin or mucous membranes from the eyes, nose or mouth. People can get the idea through sexual contact, as well.

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Phase 1 of the vaccination campaign, a plan to protect urban centers in addition to towns, has “gone well,” said Salama. During This specific phase, the plan can be to inoculate all health care workers in addition to family members in addition to others who have come into close contact with the ill. “We’ve reached the majority of contacts — more than 98% — with vaccination… in addition to we believe these contacts are currently protected against Ebola,” he said.

Phase 2 of the vaccination campaign will turn the focus of the response to rural in addition to isolated communities, “some of the most remote territories on earth” in addition to home to “indigenous” in addition to “marginalized” populations, he said.

‘Boots on the ground’

On the front lines of the outbreak, health officials use a tool called contact tracing to break the chain of transmission of the Ebola virus. the idea’s the identification in addition to follow-up of all people who may have come into contact using a person infected with the infectious disease. Health workers monitor close contacts for 21 days in addition to isolate them should they become ill.
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“Overall, the contact tracing has been a huge challenge, particularly in areas hardest to reach,” said Salama, noting which Iboko can be most difficult. The infrastructure can be only beginning to catch up, he added, with motorcycles arriving currently. the idea’s a “major boots on the ground” effort which takes several hours to trace each in addition to every contact, he said.

“Tough work can be going to go on for the next weeks,” said Salama.

Dr. Vasee Moorthy, WHO research coordinator, said there are four unlicensed Ebola treatment products currently available in country: ZMapp (a product of Mapp Biopharmaceuticals), Remdesivir (GS-5734, a product of Gilead), REGN-EB3 (an experimental Regeneron Pharmaceutical product), in addition to a monoclonal antibodies treatment created by the US National Institutes of Health
On Monday, the Ministry of Health approved the use of these experimental treatments, some used on patients in past outbreaks, during the current outbreak.
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“the idea’s clearly very difficult to evaluate efficacy of Ebola products in outbreaks,” said Moorthy, who said scientists rely on efficacy data derived by experiments in non-human primates (monkey versions). Some of these treatments, when given as late as day a few of symptoms, led to high protection in monkeys, he said, adding which the choice of product for each patient will be decided by clinicians.

Most recently, a team of Chinese experts will arrive in Kinshasa on Friday to join the international effort, which includes nations by the European Union, Japan in addition to the United States in assisting the Congolese health authorities, according to the Ministry of Health.

“We’re cautiously optimistic although there’s a lot of work,” said Salama. “We’ve learned the hard way from the past to never underestimate Ebola.”

Source : Ebola outbreak ‘ongoing’ although WHO can be ‘cautiously optimistic’