Ebola experts pulled from Congo amid ongoing outbreak

Personnel from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who have been stationed in the Democratic o...

Posted: Oct 16, 2018 1:02 AM
Updated: Oct 16, 2018 1:02 AM

Personnel from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who have been stationed in the Democratic of Congo to help control the ongoing Ebola outbreak have been pulled back from the worst impacted areas due to safety concerns, a US government official familiar with the situation told CNN Monday.

"They are not in any hot spots," the official said.

Africa

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Central Africa

Continents and regions

Democratic Republic of Congo

Diseases and disorders

Ebola

Epidemics and outbreaks

Government organizations - US

Health and medical

Infectious diseases

Non-profit and NGO organizations

Public health

US Department of Health and Human Services

US federal departments and agencies

World Health Organization

Since this most recent outbreak began on August 1, there have been 211 cases of Ebola, including 135 deaths as of Sunday, WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic confirmed. Fifty-five patients have recovered from the illness. He said there has been a recent increase in cases because of "challenges faced by the response team."

"For a couple of days we were not able to function really, and in the last couple of weeks we could not function at 100%," said Jasarevic. Challenges include a spike in violence that led to a change in location for CDC responders.

"The recent spike in violent incidents makes the response more difficult, and increases the risk of spread not only in the DRC but also in neighbouring countries" Jasarevic stated in an email.

Another reason for the increase in the number of reported cases is "better reporting from the community," said Jasarevic. Roughly half of the new cases reported in the last couple of weeks have come from the list of contacts (relatives, friends and others who came into contact with an infected person) that is compiled by health workers, while the remainder of cases required new investigations, according to Jasarevic.

The WHO will hold an emergency committee meeting this Wednesday in Geneva "to ascertain whether the outbreak constitutes a public health emergency of international concern, and what recommendations should be made to manage the outbreak," according to an announcement released Monday.

Two weeks ago, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of WHO, said at a UN Security Council meeting that WHO had raised its risk assessment of regional spread from "high" to "very high."

However, at that time, the risk of international spread outside Africa was regarded as "low," he said: "We are very concerned about the potential for the virus to spread into Uganda, but also into Rwanda, South Sudan and Burundi. We are working very closely with those governments on operational readiness for Ebola."

North Kivu province is the epicenter of the current outbreak, though some cases have been reported in neighboring Ituri province, according to WHO. The two provinces, which are among the most populated in the nation, border Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan.

On average, Ebola -- which causes fever, severe headache and in some cases hemorrhaging -- kills about half of those infected, but case fatality rates in individual outbreaks have varied from 25% to 90%.

Along with the spread of deadly Ebola, Congo is also experiencing a long-term humanitarian crisis that includes intermittent armed conflict, according to WHO. WHO has estimated that more than one million refugees and internally displaced people are in North Kivu and Ituri, and their movement through and out of the provinces is a potential risk factor for the spread of Ebola.

Dr. Peter Salama, WHO's deputy director-general of emergency preparedness and response, stated in a tweet posted Saturday that with each violent incident in northeast Congo, the community loses trust and "more cases and contacts are lost to follow-up." This "vicious cycle" increases the risk of the disease spreading, he added.

Salama also described in a tweet that the "toxic mix of factors driving the increasing force of infection." These include safety concerns which limited health workers' access to affected communities and families, "chronic mistrust in the community after years of conflict," and "fear and rumours" about Ebola.

Last week, for example, community members stole the body of a woman who died at the Ebola Treatment Center on her way to the cemetery, according to a bulletin posted Thursday by the DRC's Ministry of Health.

Previously, the woman's family had requested some concessions with regard to her burial, including that the hearse be driven by one of their acquaintances and that five family members be allowed to carry the casket while wearing personal protective equipment. However, as the procession made its way to the cemetery, the driver suddenly changed course.

Several young people "violently chased the police and kept the body with them," according to the bulletin. Later, "panicking and realizing their mistake," they allowed the deceased to be delivered to the cemetery.

The following day, several family members volunteered to get vaccinated and apologies were made to the response team. "Young people in the neighborhood promised that they would not let such a situation happen again in their neighborhood," according to the bulletin.

This is the second outbreak in Congo this year, according to WHO. A previous outbreak began in May and ended in July; it affected a western region of the country, where 54 cases were recorded, including 33 deaths. Beginning with the 1976 discovery of Ebola in an area that is now the Democratic Republic of Congo, the country has experienced 10 outbreaks, including this year's outbreaks.

West Lafayette
Clear
56° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 56°
Kokomo
Broken Clouds
52° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 52°
Rensselaer
Clear
50° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 50°
Fowler
Clear
50° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 50°
Williamsport
Clear
52° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 52°
Crawfordsville
Clear
51° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 51°
Frankfort
Clear
50° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 50°
Delphi
Clear
52° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 52°
Monticello
Clear
52° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 52°
Logansport
Clear
52° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 52°
Spotty Showers Early, followed by Cooler Temps and Breezy NE Winds.
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 107809

Reported Deaths: 3472
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion20249757
Lake9956312
Elkhart6139106
St. Joseph582896
Allen5743197
Hamilton4565109
Vanderburgh313425
Hendricks2584120
Johnson2227122
Monroe220936
Tippecanoe208213
Clark202756
Porter195243
Cass19149
Delaware177359
Vigo168320
Madison151375
LaPorte133637
Floyd127060
Howard124763
Kosciusko115617
Bartholomew112757
Warrick103334
Marshall97223
Boone93746
Dubois91418
Hancock88842
Noble85832
Grant83732
Jackson7259
Henry72424
Wayne71814
Morgan67337
Shelby65029
LaGrange62811
Daviess61227
Dearborn61228
Clinton58911
Harrison54324
Putnam5088
Lawrence49828
Montgomery49321
White46914
Knox4489
Decatur44639
Gibson4254
DeKalb42110
Miami4182
Greene40635
Fayette40113
Jasper3722
Scott34410
Steuben3427
Sullivan32512
Jennings30512
Franklin29025
Clay2845
Posey2840
Orange27724
Ripley2708
Carroll26713
Wabash2527
Washington2491
Whitley2416
Wells2372
Jefferson2343
Starke2297
Fulton2272
Adams2263
Tipton21522
Huntington2033
Perry20014
Randolph2007
Spencer1944
Newton16311
Owen1621
Jay1570
Martin1500
Rush1474
Pike1311
Vermillion1200
Fountain1132
Pulaski1121
Blackford1062
Crawford980
Brown933
Parke892
Benton870
Ohio757
Union750
Switzerland660
Warren381
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