Ebola outbreak death toll reaches 27 in Congo, WHO says

Ebola virus disease has taken the lives of 27 people in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the World Health Organizati...

Posted: May 23, 2018 7:34 PM
Updated: May 23, 2018 7:34 PM

Ebola virus disease has taken the lives of 27 people in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the World Health Organization said Wednesday. Based on information gathered this week, WHO also reported a total of 58 cases of the rare and deadly illness in the Congo outbreak.

Ebola virus disease, which causes fever, severe headache and in some cases hemorrhaging, most commonly affects people and nonhuman primates, such as monkeys, gorillas and chimpanzees. There are five subtypes of Ebola virus, four of which can be transmitted from wild animals to people, who can then spread the disease person-to-person.

Ebola virus disease has taken the lives of 27 people in the Democratic Republic of Congo

The outbreak is caused by a virus subtype with the highest mortality rate

The current outbreak is caused by the Zaire ebolavirus, which has the highest mortality rate, ranging from 60% to 90%, according to WHO.

The total case count includes 28 confirmed, 21 probable and nine suspected patients from three health zones in the country's northwestern province of Equateur: Bikoro, which reported the first and most cases, Iboko and Wangata.

Equateur has an estimated population of 2.5 million spread among 16 health zones, according to WHO.

The newest cases confirmed by WHO occurred in Wangata, a health zone in Mbandaka, a city on the Congo River and boasting a population of about a million.

The spread of the virus into this particular city, which is connected to Kinshasa and bordering countries via tributaries of the Congo River, has raised fears it could spread more quickly and become harder to control, according to Peter Salama, the deputy director general of the WHO's Health Emergencies Program.

Salama spoke during a briefing on the Ebola outbreak response for delegates assembled at the 71st Session of the World Health Assembly.

'Not the only challenge'

Ebola virus spreads through direct contact with either bodily fluids or objects contaminated by someone ill with the disease, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In some cases, the virus is spread from contact with someone who has died from the disease. The virus enters the body through broken skin or mucous membranes in the eyes, nose or mouth. People can get it through sexual contact, as well.

Three health care workers were among the 58 cases reported.

"It is critical to remember that the Ebola outbreak in northwest DRC is not the only challenge this country is facing," Salama said. "There is massive population displacement, food insecurity and malnutrition, particularly in the east of the country, and multiple simultaneous outbreaks of cholera, of measles and recently of vaccine-derived poliovirus," a rare mutated strain.

Pharmaceutical giant Merck has provided more than 8,000 doses of its experimental Ebola vaccine and will make an additional 8,000 doses available to WHO in the coming days.

As of Monday, the starting day of the WHO vaccination program, health care workers had identified over 600 people who have come into contact with those who have fallen ill, Salama said. WHO is working with the country's Ministry of Health, M-decins Sans Fronti-res (Doctors Without Borders) and other partners to inoculate only those people at high risk of infection: primary and secondary contacts.

"The detective work of epidemiology will make or break the response to this outbreak," Salama said.

'Enthusiastic and determined contributions'

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of WHO, noted the difficulty of maintaining the vaccine's proper temperature in country.

"The commitment and sacrifice of those on the front line is the most important element of this outbreak," he said. In particular, he emphasized the proximity of neighboring countries as a major challenge of the current outbreak.

Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO regional director for Africa, said the nine countries bordering Congo have initiated preparedness activities, which includes training health care workers and supplying clinics. Central African Republic, which is nearest to the affected Congo province, is of the greatest concern and is a priority for WHO.

"I have seen enthusiastic and determined contributions to the preparedness of these countries," Moeti said.

Salama noted that, in eight Ebola outbreaks in Congo, two patterns have emerged: The virus affected either isolated rural areas only or towns only.

"This outbreak has features of both," Salama said, as disease has spread from villages and begun to encroach on larger towns and cities.

"We're really just at the beginning," he said. "The next few weeks will really tell if this outbreak is going to expand to urban areas or if we are going to be able to keep it under control."

West Lafayette
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 75°
Kokomo
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 75°
Rensselaer
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 73°
Fowler
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 73°
Williamsport
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 73°
Crawfordsville
Clear
74° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 74°
Frankfort
Clear
78° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 79°
Delphi
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 72°
Monticello
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 73°
Logansport
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 73°
Mainly Dry and Warmer Rest of the Week.
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 112626

Reported Deaths: 3520
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion20832759
Lake10292318
Elkhart6415109
St. Joseph6156102
Allen6029200
Hamilton4724109
Vanderburgh344530
Hendricks2673122
Monroe247436
Tippecanoe226913
Johnson2268123
Clark215056
Porter207845
Cass19329
Delaware188261
Vigo178123
Madison159575
LaPorte137739
Floyd131461
Howard128563
Kosciusko120217
Warrick119936
Bartholomew115357
Marshall98924
Dubois95418
Boone95146
Hancock91143
Grant89133
Noble89132
Henry77024
Wayne74414
Jackson7409
Morgan70038
Shelby66529
Daviess64427
Dearborn63228
LaGrange63111
Clinton59212
Harrison56024
Putnam53710
Lawrence50528
Montgomery50521
Knox5019
Gibson4854
White48114
DeKalb45611
Decatur45439
Miami4263
Fayette41813
Greene41835
Jasper3862
Steuben3707
Scott35610
Sullivan33012
Jennings31212
Posey3060
Franklin29925
Clay2935
Orange28524
Ripley2838
Carroll27013
Wabash2618
Washington2611
Starke2537
Whitley2526
Wells2482
Adams2453
Jefferson2443
Fulton2342
Huntington2223
Tipton21722
Spencer2153
Perry21413
Randolph2087
Jay1730
Newton17111
Owen1651
Martin1640
Rush1524
Pike1401
Vermillion1260
Fountain1182
Pulaski1151
Blackford1133
Crawford1030
Brown1023
Parke941
Benton880
Union770
Ohio767
Switzerland700
Warren391
Unassigned0225

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events