Panic As 2 New Ebola Cases Recorded In DR Congo

There is panic and consternation within health services as well as international humanitarian organisations in the Democratic Republic of Congo following the discovery of two new cases of the dreaded Ebola virus. 

The panic is couched on the fact that local and international health authorities were beginning to rejoice that the virus is in complete recess in the country.

The national team for the fight against the Ebola virus reveals that it has confirmed two new cases, one in Belenga a Bongonde and one in Lotumbe a Lotumbe in the Equateur province. 

The same team has confirmed the death of one person in Bolenge a Bongonde, while three persons have been confirmed healed in Igende.

According to sources in the Ministry of Health in Kinshasa, none of the affected persons is a health worker. 

However, there is a probability that one health worker may be among the confirmed cases but this is yet to be scientifically ascertained.

It should be noted that since the discovery of new cases of the ebola on June 1, 2020 in the DR Congo, about 100 cases, including 96 confirmed and six probable cases have been identified.

There have so far been 43 deaths including 39 confirmed and 4 probable fatalities while 41 patients have been successfully cured.

An Ebola epidemic was declared in the same province in May 2018 and fortunately, it was contained within three months with 53 confirmed cases and 33 deaths registered.

The current outbreak and response to it, seems to be under-financed on top of the logistics difficulties being faced by the health teams.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) had initially made available US$1.7 million, followed by a further US$600,000 supplementary allocation tapped from emergency funds earmarked for emergency situations.

The Democratic Republic of Congo Ministry of Health had presented an integral anti-Ebola plan requiring US$40 million to donors and international partners, and on its own made available US$4 million.

Right now, the coffers for the fight against the Ebola virus are virtually empty and the DR Congo government says supplementary support is absolutely necessary.

The World Health Organization is concerned by the rapid increase and spread of the deadly Ebola virus in remote, densely forested areas of Equateur province in the northwestern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Health officials report 100 people in DRC have been infected with Ebola in fewer than 100 days, killing nearly half or 43 of those who have contracted this highly contagious disease.   

The WHO says the virus is continuing to spread and is already in 11 of the province’s 17 health zones. This is of particular concern because of the difficulty of reaching affected communities in the geographically vast area.  

WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says there currently is a delay of about five days from the onset of symptoms to when an alert about a suspected case is raised.

“This is concerning because the longer a patient goes without treatment, the lower their chances of survival, and the longer the virus can spread unseen in communities. \

“The situation has been further complicated by a strike by health workers, which is affecting activities including vaccination and safe burials,” Tedros said.  

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Chief Bisong Etahoben

Chief Bisong Etahoben is a Cameroonian investigative journalist and traditional ruler. He writes for international media and has participated in several transnational investigations. Etahoben won the first-ever Cameroon Investigative Journalist Award in 1992. He serves as a member of a number of international investigative journalism professional bodies including the Forum for African Investigative Reporters (FAIR). He is HumAngle's Francophone and Central Africa editor.

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