June 05, 2005

Tests confirm Congo Ebola outbreak

Thanks Justine for sending me this, from the CNN website:

Wednesday, May 18, 2005 Posted: 8:11 AM EDT (1211 GMT)

BRAZZAVILLE, Republic of Congo (Reuters) -- Ebola has returned to the Republic of Congo, killing nine people since the end of April, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday after tests confirmed the presence of the deadly virus.

"The results (of laboratory tests) came in yesterday ... It is indeed a case of Ebola," said Adamou Yada, WHO's representative in Congo, which has faced serious outbreaks of the disease in the past. Nearly 150 people died in 2003.

"Since the beginning (of the outbreak), we have registered 11 cases, including nine deaths," Yada said in the capital, Brazzaville.

The latest outbreak is in the forested Cuvette-Ouest region, near the border with Gabon, where the 2003 outbreak struck.

There is no known cure for Ebola, which is passed on by infected body fluids and kills between 50 percent and 90 percent of victims, depending on the strain.

In a statement on its Web site, WHO said of the 11 cases, one had been confirmed as Ebola by laboratory tests and 10 were epidemiologically linked. A total of 81 contacts were being monitored in the towns of Etoumbi and Mbomo, north of the capital Brazzaville, it said.

Officials from Congo's Health Ministry, WHO and Medecins Sans Frontieres-Holland are in the field, following up contacts and raising awareness about the disease, WHO said.

Ebola damages blood vessels and can cause bleeding, diarrhea and shock. Its worst outbreak, in 1995, killed more than 250 people in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Scientists think past outbreaks in Cuvette-Ouest were caused by the consumption of infected monkey meat. Bushmeat is a staple among forest communities in West and Central Africa and a delicacy in many cities.

While this is the "other Congo" (Congo Brazzaville), there have been reports of an Ebola like virus in Congo near the border of Angola.


Victoria said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
007 in Africa said...

Victoria said "Oh my goodness, that is absolutely terrifying... Is there a way to protect yourself? (I'm guessing clean water here). How do you contact it? Is your organisation going to be doing anything about it?

Red Handed Jill said...

ahhhh! don't get ebola, 007!!!!

007 in Africa said...

I'm trying my best not to get Ebola!