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World Health Organization hopes to use Ebola vaccine to stem Congo outbreak
12 May 2018, 01:58 | Rodolfo Wallace
CREDIT Getty Images
Health Minister Isaac Adewale late on Wednesday said the cabinet had ordered his ministry to step up emergency surveillance at all land and airport borders, with a particular emphasis on screening people visiting from Congo.
Ebola is endemic to the Democratic Republic of Congo, and this is the nation's ninth outbreak of Ebola virus disease since the discovery of the virus in the country in 1976.
"We are very concerned, and we are planning for all scenarios, including the worst case scenario", WHO's head of emergency response Peter Salama told reporters in Geneva.
The funds, he said, "in effect had the potential to function as something we very, very badly need, which is a contingency fund for significant large-scale disease outbreak".
"Our country is facing a new epidemic of the Ebola virus which constitutes an global health emergency", the ministry said. However, the disease is not as gruesome as has sometimes been reported (body organs don't liquiefy), which makes it hard to figure out what's Ebola and what's not. "If it becomes necessary to alert the people of Malawi we will do so without causing any unnecessary anxiety". There are no special precautions or directives for commercial flights‚ passengers or crew departing on flights bound for DRC or returning from DRC. Of these, two tested positive for Ebola virus, Zaire ebolavirus species, by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) on 7 May 2018 and the outbreak was officially declared on 8 May 2018.
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NAIJ.com notes that he said that World Health Organization had alerted the nine neighbouring countries but now regarded the risk of regional spread as "moderate".
Rapidly responding to Ebola is key to stopping the outbreak before it gets out of control.
Just seven people died of Ebola in Nigeria in 2014 out of 19 confirmed cases, whereas the disease killed over 11,000 elsewhere in west Africa, and the country was commended for its response to the disease. According to the CDC, some of the symptoms include fever, severe headaches, muscle pain, fatigue, diarrhea, vomiting, and hemorrhage, in worse cases.
Researchers there used the same approach that was used to study smallpox, where they identify a "ring" of people who may have come into contact with an infected person, and then vaccinated all of those people after determining they may have been at risk.
The Ebola virus, which mostly affects humans and nonhuman primates (monkeys, gorillas and chimpanzees), is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission.
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