DR Congo Identifies ‘Second Wave’ Of Ebola In East

File photo of health workers operating within an Ebola safety zone in the Health Center in Iyonda, near Mbandaka. The Democratic Republic of Congo /AFP

 

A second wave of the Ebola virus has been confirmed in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, where an initial outbreak has already killed 125 people, a minister said Saturday.

The latest wave is centred in Beni, a town in North Kivu near the border with Uganda, said Health Minister Dr Oly Ilunga.

“We don’t yet know the scale of it,” he added. “The epicentre, which was in Mangina is now in Beni.” The two towns lie about 20 kilometres (12 miles) apart.

This second wave occurred as a result of community resistance to measures taken to tackle the disease, Ilunga said.

“The epidemic in Beni is high risk.. and the situation is worrying.”

Two new cases were confirmed in the Beni region, according to health ministry statistics published Saturday, taking the total to 127 in the area since August 1. There were 35 other suspected cases.

On Friday, the World Health Organization expressed concern over the growing number of cases in recent weeks, especially in Beni.

The latest outbreak is the 10th in DR Congo since Ebola was first detected there in 1976.

Officials in Beni have announced measures to protect health workers after a number of incidents where response teams were assaulted.

Fears and misconceptions about the virus have led to widespread mistrust and resistance to Ebola response workers, including those who come into communities wearing hazmat suits to orchestrate burials.

A staff member of the UN peacekeeper mission MONUSCO was among the latest victims of the virus, the UN and health ministry said.

The work of health officials is also hampered by violence in a region which has long been ravaged by armed conflict.

AFP

33 Persons Feared Killed In DR Congo Ebola Outbreak

(FILES) In this file photo taken on June 1, 2018 health workers operate within an Ebola safety zone in the Health Center in Iyonda, near Mbandaka, Congo. PHOTO: JUNIOR D. KANNAH / AFP

 

A new outbreak of the Ebola virus in the Democratic Republic of Congo is believed to have killed 33 people in the east of the country, the health ministry said on Saturday.

Thirteen Ebola cases have been confirmed since the fresh outbreak was declared on August 1 in North Kivu province.

While just three of the fatalities have been among the 13 confirmed cases, the death toll is believed to have risen to 33, the health authorities said in a bulletin on Saturday.

Containing an Ebola outbreak in a “war zone” in the Democratic Republic of Congo is among the most difficult challenges the World Health Organisation has faced, a top WHO official said on Friday.

In North Kivu, health workers will have to navigate their response among more than 100 armed groups, 20 of whom are “highly active,” WHO’s emergency response chief Peter Salama told reporters.

The outbreak in North Kivu in eastern DRC was declared a week after WHO and the Kinshasa government hailed the end of an earlier Ebola flareup in northwestern Equateur province, which killed 33 people.

As with the earlier outbreak,”vaccinations will be an integral part of the response,” the health ministry said Saturday.

The latest outbreak of the haemorrhagic virus is the 10th in the DRC since 1976, when it was discovered in the north of the country, then called Zaire, and named after a river nearby.

In Geneva, the World Health Organization said most of the new cases were recorded in the district of Mangina, 30 kilometres (18 miles) from the city of Beni.

“This is an active conflict zone. The major barrier will be safely accessing the affected population,” the WHO said.

One of the world’s most feared diseases, Ebola is a virus-caused haemorrhagic fever that in extreme cases causes fatal bleeding from internal organs, the mouth, eyes or ears.

It has a natural host in a species of tropical African fruit bats, from which it is believed to leap to humans who kill and butcher the animals for food.

In the worst outbreak of Ebola, the disease struck the West African states of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone in 2013-15, killing more than 11,300 people.

The DRC authorities were alerted to the recent outbreak by the death of a 65-year-old woman in Mangina in late July.

After she was buried members of her family began to display symptoms of the virus “and seven of them have died,” the ministry said Saturday.

Probable Ebola cases have also been registered in neighbouring Ituri province.

While insisting that all means available were being used to stop the latest outbreak, Doctor Ndjoloko Tambwe Bathe, who is heading the fight against the virus, told the UN’s news website Okapi that “we can not tell you whether we are making good progress or not”.

AFP

Timeline Of Ebola Virus Since First Known Outbreak

 

Following is a recap of past epidemics of Ebola as the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) battles a new outbreak of the deadly tropical disease:

1976: First known outbreak 

Ebola was first identified in central Africa in 1976 and named after a river in northern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

It claimed 431 lives that year: 280 in the DRC (then known as Zaire) and 151 across the border in Sudan, in an area that is today part of South Sudan, according to the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Three years later the virus reemerged in the same region of southern Sudan, killing 22.

 1995: DRC again 

In May 1995 Ebola struck again in the DRC, in the forested region of Kikwit in its southwest. It spread quickly and lethally, killing 250 people from 315 reported cases.

2000-2001: Uganda 

In September 2000 the Sudan strain of Ebola fever spread for the first time to Uganda, infecting 425 people in the northern and western regions, of whom 224 died.

2001-2003: Gabon, Congo 

Affected by the Zaire strain of Ebola on three occasions between 1994 and 1997 with nearly 100 people dying in total, Gabon saw a sudden rise in cases between October 2001 and May 2002.

The epidemic hit the province of Ogooue-Ivindo in the northeast, an area which had previously been infected. Fifty-three of 65 people reported having been infected eventually died.

The virus spread to neighbouring Republic of Congo where it killed 43 in 2001 and more than 150 over 2003.

 2013-2015: Biggest outbreak 

The most deadly epidemic broke out in West Africa in December 2013 and lasted more than two years, killing more than 11,300 of the 29,000 recorded cases.

Around 99 percent of the victims came from three neighbouring countries. In Guinea, where the epidemic started, more than 2,500 died, while in Sierra Leone more than 3,900 perished and Liberia lost 4,800 people.

This toll, which the World Health Organization (WHO) says is an underestimate, was seven times the total number of deaths in previous epidemics since the virus was identified.

DRC: Ninth outbreak 

The DRC is now facing its ninth Ebola outbreak since 1976.

The latest episode, publicly declared on May 8, has seen 44 reported cases so far with 23 deaths, according to UN figures. Its epicentre is in the Bikoro area in remote Equateur province.

On Thursday the WHO said a case had been recorded in Mbandaka, a city roughly 150 kilometres (90 miles) from Bikoro.

In 2007, the virus killed 187 people in the DRC, and 43 in 2012.

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

Ebola: FG Orders Surveillance At Airport, Land Borders

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has directed the Federal Ministry to step up emergency surveillance activities at all land and airport borders in the country.

Minister of Health, Isaac Adewale, told journalists on Wednesday after the FEC meeting that, this measure is to keep Nigerians safe from Ebola outbreak which is currently in Congo.

“Of great concern to the Federal Executive Council is the outbreak of Ebola in DR Congo. Over the last one month, DRC recorded 19 suspected cases of viral hemorrhagic fever and lost 16 of the cases.

“On Monday, blood samples from five patients in the DRC, particularly in a particular district in DRC, two of the five cases, Ebola was actually confirmed.

“FEC has now directed the Federal Ministry of help to step up emergency surveillance activities at all land and airport borders so that we can actually keep Nigerians safe,” he said.

READ ALSO: Two Teenagers Killed In Failed Borno Suicide Attack

Speaking further about the virus, Adewole said an emergency operation center will be set up and visitors to Nigeria, especially Congo, will be screened thoroughly.

“What we will do is to set up an emergency operation center which will be chaired by Dr Babasanya, who actually led our efforts in Liberia and Sierra Leone and Guinea during the outbreak in 2014.

“Not only that, we will be screening incoming passengers, particularly passengers from DRC and neighbouring countries. We will also ensure we step up all activities screening people coming in so that we will not be caught unawares,” he added.

The FEC also agreed that Nigerian Center for Disease Control (NCDC) will consider sending some team to DRC as part of building capacity for managing the outbreak.

“We want to assure Nigerians that the Federal Government is concerned about the outbreak and will do everything possible to keep the country safe,” he said.

According to health officials, 17 people have died in an area of northwestern Democratic Republic of Congo where an outbreak of Ebola has been confirmed.

This recent outbreak is DRC’s ninth known outbreak of Ebola since 1976 when the deadly viral disease was first identified in then-Zaire by a Belgian-led team.

In Nigeria, Ebola outbreak was experienced in 2014. This led to the deaths of many including Dr. Stella Adedavoh, a physician credited to have curbed a wider spread of the Ebola virus in Nigeria.

Nigeria’s Health Council To Approve National Health Policy

Nigeria To Approve National Health PolicyThe National Council on Health is considering for approval, the National Health Policy 2016 towards a successful implementation of the recently enacted National Health Act 2014 and the achievement of the Universal Health Coverage in Nigeria.

The Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, said that the focus was to ensure speedy approval of the policy towards strategic inclusion in the 2017 budget for effective implementation.

He explained that its development became necessary following the trend of global health epidemics such as the Ebola virus and Nigeria’s continued need to attain a universal health coverage and accessible healthcare.

The National Health Policy, when approved, will mandate the revamping and construction of primary healthcare centres in each of the 10,000 political wards in the count
ry over the next three years.

This will give up to 100 million Nigerians access to basic and affordable health care services.

This National Health Policy 2016 under consideration by the National Health Council in Abuja, would be the third health policy to be developed and implemented in Nigeria after 1988 and 2004.

Intense deliberations are expected over issues such as the development of the second national strategic health development plan and the role of states in the operationalization of the National Heath Act.

 

Laboratory Scientists Seek More Focus On Neglected Diseases

Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of NigeriaThe Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria (AMLSN), has asked the Federal Government to focus more on neglected diseases such as, Spongiform Encephalopathies and Hemorrhagic fevers.

The group made the call on Sunday, following the rise of prevalence of psychiatric disorder and hemorrhagic fevers in Nigeria.

Their demand is part of resolutions reached by the AMLSN at the end of its 193rd NEC Meeting and Annual Public Health Lecture held in Calabar, Cross River State Capital, with the theme, “Spongiform Encephalopathies; Disorders of Economic and Public Health Importance; Wither Nigeria?”.

According to the AMLSN, the challenge must not be undermined by government, medical professionals and indeed all stakeholders.

With the outbreak of diseases such as Spongiform Encephalopathies, Lassa Fever Virus and Ebola virus among others, speakers at the meeting, called on the public to adhere strictly to the preventive measures of personal and environmental hygiene.

Reading out resolutions reached at the end of the NEC Meeting, the National President of the Association, Toyosi Raheem, called on government at all levels to constitute active surveillance teams that would ensure holistic surveillance at all times to detect early warning signs of disease outbreaks.

The active surveillance teams, according to Mr Raheem, would avoid health emergencies that may impact gravely on the lives of Nigerians.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wife of Ebola Survivor Welcomes Baby girl

ebolaIt is another cheery news from First Consultants Medical Centre in Lagos, as the wife of a male Ebola survivor, Dr. Adewale Adejoro, has been delivered of a healthy Ebola-free baby girl.

According to the hospital’s Medical Director, Dr. Benjamin Ohiaeri, who made the birth announcement on Thursday, Mrs Opeyemi  Adejoro put to bed at 7.24 pm on Tuesday, December 1, 2015.

“The baby girl, weighing 3kg at birth (its placenta 450g), a product of a term gestation was delivered following strict guidelines and recommendations from the Centre for Disease Control (CDC), USA, through the pre-natal and delivery stages,” Dr. Ohiaeri said.

In November 2015, First Consultant Medical Centre celebrated Dr Ada Igonoh’s safe delivery of a baby girl in the United States.

First Consultant Medical Centre, Lagos, is the same hospital where the index case of Ebola in Nigeria, Patrick Sawyer, was treated.

Ebola Survivor, Ada Igonoh Welcomes Baby Girl

Ebola-Survivor-Ada-IgonohAn Ebola survivor and a resident staff of First Consultant Medical Centre, Dr. Ada Igonoh, gave birth to a baby girl on Tuesday afternoon.

The hospital said the baby girl, weighing nine pounds one ounce, was given birth to at the Greater El-Monte Community Hospital in California, USA.

Certified Ebola-free

Dr. Igonoh is the only female medical doctor to have survived the deadly disease.

Since her conception, Dr. Ada has been placed under medical surveillance to ensure that her child is Ebola-Free.

The baby, upon birth, has been certified Ebola-free.

To mark the wonderful news, the staff and friends of First Consultants Medical Centre are jubilant in celebration, as they welcome a new lease of life to the institution and in memory of fallen colleagues and survivors of the deadly disease.

The Ebola Virus was first reported in Nigeria at the First Consultant Medical Centre in July 2114, after a Liberian lawyer, Patrick Sawyer, was confirmed to have contracted the virus. At least seven persons died as a result of the disease, including the Liberian.

The World Health Organization, in concert with the Centre for Disease Control, formally declared Nigeria Ebola-Free on October 20, 2014.

Ebola Anniversary: Friends Set Up Adadevoh Health Trust

adadevohThe family and friends of late Ebola heroin, Dr Stella Adadevoh, have set up an initiative in her name called, the Dr Ameyo Stella Adadevoh Health Trust.

The initiative has been designed to help Nigeria to better prepare and plan ahead of any possible infectious disease outbreak in the country.

This is to mark the one year anniversary of the containment of the deadly virus in Nigeria.

Adadevoh was the lead doctor that initiated the diagnosis and restrained the index Ebola case from going into the larger public space and spreading the virus in Nigeria.

Many Nigerians have said that the best way to immortalize those who lost their lives to Ebola in Nigeria and celebrate the survivors is the institution of an effective and efficient disease control mechanisms in most parts of the country, thereby improving and advancing Nigeria’s healthcare system.

It was a trying time for Nigeria and her health system between July 20, 2014 when the Liberian-American, Patrick Sawyer, imported the Ebola virus into the country and October 19 when the spread of the disease ended.

First Consultant Medical Center in Lagos, the hospital where the index case landed, bore the most impact.

Four of the hospital’s doctors and nurses, including late Dr. Stella Adadevoh, lost their lives defending the nation’s public health. The total number of deaths finally stood at eight while 12 other people who were infected survived.

The World Health Organisation declared Nigeria Ebola-free on October 20, 2014 and many worldwide have been trying to learn from Nigeria how it contained the deadly virus.

However, the WHO declaration stated that education and training on infectious diseases influence policies to ensure better quality healthcare for all patients.

It also highlighted the need to promote local research into causes and treatment of infectious diseases, which would assist in the prevention and control of infectious disease outbreaks and epidemics.

Reps Recommend Scholarships For Ebola Heroine, Adadevoh’s Children

EbolaThe House of Representatives has urged the Federal Government to give scholarships to the children of late Dr Ameyo Adadevoh for her sacrifice in preventing further spread of Ebola in the country back in 2014.

This followed a motion by Rep Akinade Taofeek, who also urged the federal government to consider a posthumous national honour for the late doctor in recognition of her heroic sacrifice.

Rep Taofeek also said that the “effort, courage and sacrifice of those persons who lost their lives in the course of treating Patrick Sawyer need to be acknowledged, including the management and other staff of the hospital.”

The lawmaker said that the sacrifice of Dr. Adadevoh saved the country from further spread of the deadly disease, which calls for a gesture from the federal government to her children.

A movie, ’93 Days’ has been produced to demonstrate the bravery of the late Dr. Adadevoh and her colleagues from their encounter with the late American-Liberian, Patrick Sawyer, who was the index case of the Ebola Virus in Nigeria.

 

Health Ministry Dismisses Calabar Ebola Outbreak Rumour

EbolaThe Federal Ministry of Health has dismissed reports of the resurgence of Ebola in Calabar, Cross River State, as a mere rumour.

The Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Health, Mr Linus Awute, told journalists in Abuja that the story which has been making the rounds since Wednesday was a case of an undergraduate student of the University of Calabar who fell ill and was admitted into the university’s teaching hospital.

According to him, although the patient who died seven hours after admission, had symptoms similar to that of the Ebola virus, results from tests already conducted proved negative.

He, however, told the journalists that further test on the blood samples of the deceased was being carried out at the Redeemers University laboratory to identify the nature of the disease that killed the student.