DR Congo Announces End Of Latest Ebola Epidemic

The Democratic Republic of the Congo, also known as DR Congo, the DRC, DROC, Congo-Kinshasa, or simply the Congo, is a country located in Central Africa
The Democratic Republic of the Congo, also known as DR Congo, the DRC, DROC, Congo-Kinshasa, or simply the Congo, is a country located in Central Africa

 

The Democratic Republic of Congo on Wednesday declared the end of the country’s latest Ebola epidemic after the outbreak killed 55 people over the past five months.

“I am happy to solemnly declare the end of the 11th epidemic of the Ebola virus in Equateur province” in the vast country’s northwest, Health Minister Eteni Longondo told journalists.

The World Health Organization said the latest outbreak had killed 55 people among 119 confirmed and 11 probable cases since it began in June.

More o follow . . .

United States Unveils $600million Aid For DRC Congo Transition

DRC Congo map.

 

The United States on Thursday unveiled a $600 million three-year aid package for the Democratic Republic of Congo to aid political transition in the wake of President Felix Tshisekedi taking office last January, US ambassador Mike Hammer said.

“Through USAID and other development assistance, the US government supports President Tshisekedi’s change agenda, including combatting corruption, improving human rights, advancing stability, attracting investment, and delivering results for the Congolese people,” a US embassy statement quoted Hammer as saying.

Hammer said the development assistance would underpin investment in “activities related to education, economic growth, health, anti-corruption, and good governance, environmental protection, and humanitarian assistance,” as Washington lifted assistance to these sectors to $1.25 billion since 2015.

USAID director Paul Sabatine signed the aid accord with DRC Minister for International Cooperation Pepin-Guillaume Manjolo Buakila.

France meanwhile announced it would boost “joint efforts”  to rid the east of the country of an Ebola epidemic via a roadmap prioritising urgent humanitarian aid, scientific partnerships and developing healthcare infrastructure, the French foreign ministry stated.

“France has committed to mobilising 71 million euros ($80 million) for healthcare in the DRC from 2018 to 2021,” a ministry statement read.

French President Emmanuel Macron told Tshisekedi in Paris earlier this month that France was disbursing 65 millions euros to modernise the DRC. Last May, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian had announced on a visit to Kinshasa a “300 million euros programme” in overall assistance for Tshisekedi for a mandate lasting to 2023.

AFP

Ebola: Profile Of A Much-Feared Killer Virus

 

 

A fact file on the deadly Ebola virus, a new outbreak of which has killed 17 people in the northwest Democratic Republic of Congo, according to the DRC government and World Health Organization (WHO).

 What it is:

Ebola — formally known as Ebola virus disease, or EVD — is a severe and often lethal viral disease.

The average fatality rate is around 50 percent, varying from 25 percent to 90 percent, according to the WHO.

History:

Ebola was first identified in 1976 by a team led by a young Belgian microbiologist, Peter Piot, who later founded UNAIDS, the United Nations’ spearhead agency against HIV/AIDS.

They named the virus after a river in the Democratic Republic of Congo — then known as Zaire — that was close to the location of the first known outbreak.

Four of the virus species are known to cause disease in humans — Zaire, Sudan, Bundibugyo and Tai Forest.

How it is transmitted:

The virus’ natural reservoir animal is probably the bat, which does not itself fall ill, but can pass the microbe on to humans who hunt it for food.

Chimpanzees, gorillas, monkeys, forest antelope and porcupines can also become infected with Ebola, which makes them potential vectors for transmission if they are killed, butchered and eaten.

Among humans, the commonest form of infection is through close contact with the blood, body fluids, secretions or organs of someone who is sick with Ebola or has recently died — a risk in African cultures where relatives typically touch the body of the deceased at funerals.

The WHO says it is unclear whether the virus may be transmitted through sexual intercourse, but urges safe-sex practices among all Ebola survivors and their sexual partners.

Symptoms:

Those infected do not become contagious until symptoms appear — something that happens after an incubation period of between two and 21 days.

High fever, weakness, intense muscle and joint pain, headaches and a sore throat are often followed by vomiting and diarrhoea, skin eruptions, kidney and liver failure, and internal and external bleeding.

After-effects have often been observed in survivors, including arthritis, problems with vision, eye inflammation and hearing difficulties.

Treatment:

There is no current vaccine to prevent Ebola or licensed treatment for it, although a range of experimental drugs is in development. Early care with rehydration may boost the chance of survival.

Given the lack of a pharmaceutical weapon against Ebola, health experts have responded with time-honored measures of control, prevention, and containment.

They use rigorous protocols to protect medical personnel with disposable full-body suits, masks, goggles and gloves and disinfecting sprays.

Controlling the spread in the community is combatted by tracing and isolating people who have been in contact with an Ebola victim. Enlisting the support of the community through awareness campaigns is vital.

Worst outbreak:

The world’s worst Ebola outbreak started in December 2013 in southern Guinea before spreading to two neighbouring West African countries, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

That outbreak killed more than 11,300 people out of nearly 29,000 registered cases, according to World Health Organisation estimates.

The real figure may have been significantly higher, however.

More than 99 percent of victims were in Liberia, Guine, and Sierra Leone although cases popped up all over the world, sparking panic.

The WHO declared the epidemic over in January 2016, although this was followed by flare-ups in all three countries.

Before the West African outbreak, Ebola killed about 1,700 people over four decades.

SOURCES: WHO, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

AFP