16 January, 2009
Ebola Haemorrhagic Fever: Kaluamba village, Western Kasai province, Democratic Republic of the Congo
The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo) is again dealing with an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus with 46 people suspected to be infected and 14 dead. Just last year, an outbreak of Ebola led to the deaths of 187 people in this same region of Western Kasai. Angola has closed its’ border to the DR Congo, and immigration officials in Uganda have been put on high alert.
Ebola hemorrhagic fever is a filovirus that is transmitted from person-to-person via blood, secretions, and contaminated objects. The resurgence of Ebola in this particular province has previously been linked to the consumption of primates such as the Bonobo. Once infected, fever, weakness, muscle pain, headache, and sore throat develop followed by vomiting, diarrhea, rash, and in some cases internal and external bleeding. The mortality rate of the virus is typically between 50-90%, and no specific treatment or vaccine is currently available.
The Ministry of Health of the DR Congo along with a wide range of international partners, including the Congolese Red Cross (DRC), Médecins Sans Frontières (Belgium), UNICEF, and the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC), have been working non-stop to contain the current outbreak. This advanced team continues to implement control strategies and is supporting outbreak field responses throughout the province.
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