Congo announces first suspected Ebola death since new outbreak

PBS, May
10, 2018

minister of health on Thursday announced the first death since a new Ebola
outbreak was declared in the country, as well as nine other cases of people
sickened by a hemorrhagic fever that is suspected as Ebola.
This 2014 file photo shows a health worker spraying a colleague with
during a training session for Congolese health workers to deal
with Ebola virus.
Congo’s minister of health says the first death from a new
of Ebola in the country’s northwest has been confirmed. REUTERS/Media

officials declared an Ebola outbreak in the country’s northwest on Tuesday
after lab tests confirmed the deadly virus in two cases from the town of Bikoro
in the Equateur province. Officials from the World Health Organization and
other international health agencies are in the area to help contain the
outbreak’s spread.
situation worries us and requires a very immediate and energetic response.
people with a hemorrhagic fever, including two confirmed cases of Ebola, were
hospitalized in Bikoro as of Thursday, according to Health Minister Oly Ilunga.
The death happened overnight at a hospital in nearby Ikoko Impenge hospital
that also reported four new suspected cases of Ebola, Ilunga said.
told The Associated Press that the patient who died was a nurse. Three other nurses
also were being treated for a hemorrhagic fever, he said.
minister clarified with The Associated Press that testing still must be done in
nine cases, and equipment to conduct rapid testing on the patients has been
situation worries us and requires a very immediate and energetic response,” he
said at a news conference.
The two
Ebola cases were confirmed as the Zaire strain after officials in the capital,
Kinshasa, were alerted early this month to the deaths of 17 people from a hemorrhagic
fever and traveled to the Bikoro area to perform tests.
deaths occurred over a period of time and Ebola, which is not the only virus
responsible for hemorrhagic fevers, has not been confirmed as the cause in any
of the 17 cases, Ilunga said.
Hospital director Dr. Serge Ngalebato told The Associated Press earlier
Thursday that nurses at the hospital were among the five suspected Ebola cases
“We have
isolated the patients,” Ngalebato said. “There are no deaths yet, but all of
the sick are presenting signs of fever, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain and
intense fatigue.”
This is
the ninth Ebola outbreak in Congo since 1976, when the deadly disease was first
occasionally jumps to humans from animals, including bats and monkeys.
There is
no specific treatment for Ebola, which is spread through the bodily fluids of
people exhibiting symptoms. Without preventive measures, the virus can spread
quickly between people and is fatal in up to 90 percent of cases.
director of the National Institute of Biological and Bacterial Research, Dr.
Jean Jacques Muyembe, said Wednesday that health experts should be able to
quickly contain this outbreak because the area is so remote.
The cases
could be linked to a policeman in the Bikoro health zone who presented symptoms
of hemorrhagic fever and died in December, Muyembe said. His mother and 10
others then showed similar symptoms.
None of
the Ebola outbreaks in Congo have been connected to the massive outbreak in
Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone in West Africa that began in 2014 and left
more than 11,300 dead.