Church in DRC maintains measures against Ebola

Church in DRC maintains measures against Ebola

Two more people have died of Ebola in northwestern Democratic Republic of Congo, bringing the toll to 27 in almost a month, the health ministry said on Wednesday.

According to World Health Organization statistics, as of Wednesday, a total of 58 EVD cases have been reported, including 27 deaths, 37 lab-confirmed, 14 probable and seven suspected cases.

Cases have occurred in the city of Mbandaka, a transport hub on the Congo River - a scenario that typically makes an outbreak of the infectious disease far more hard to contain.

An Ebola health worker at Bikoro Hospital, Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Archbishop Fridolin Ambongo Besungu, co-adjutor archbishop of Kinshasa who previously served in the Diocese of Mbandaka-Bikoro, where the outbreak occurred, chose to suspend administering sacraments to protect churchgoers from contracting the disease. Bikoro health zone and Wangata health zone both reported their last confirmed case in mid-May.

"There's been very strong progress in the outbreak response, particularly in relation to two of three sites", Salama said.

This Ebola outbreak, initially located in the rural areas of the northwest and later reaching the urban area of Mbandaka, is the ninth to strike the Democratic Republic of Congo since the discovery of the virus in 1976 in the country.

"Contact tracing has been a huge challenge in this hard-to-reach area", Salama said, describing Iboko as a remote community in a heavily forested part of the DRC.

While Ebola's spread to a major city has complicated efforts to track all contacts of those infected, the presence of the virus in Iboko poses another world of problems.

"This is a major logistical and boots-on-the-ground epidemiological endeavor now", Salama said, adding that work there will go on for weeks.

Based on the IHR assessment and status of core capacities implementation in countries, the plan lays out WHO's recommendations to ensure that these countries are operationally ready to prevent the importation of cases, implement risk mitigation, detection and response measures for Ebola.

Clinicians working in the treatment centres will make decisions on which drug to use as deemed helpful for their patients, and appropriate for the setting.

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