Nigeria monitoring Ebola before WC warm-up

Desiree Steele
May 12, 2018

This is the ninth outbreak of Ebola virus disease over the last four decades in the Democratic Republic of Congo, with the most recent occurring in May 2017.

The Health Ministry has also set up a National Emergency Council tasked with placing measures to curb hazardous diseases from spreading to the country.

The Kenyan Government has upped screening tests at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) and other points of entry as a precautionary measure following an outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a joint statement from the ministries of Health and Tourism said on Friday.

Nine countries around the DRC are on high alert and have begun screening people crossing the border.

Just seven people died of Ebola in Nigeria in 2014 out of 19 confirmed cases, whereas the disease killed over 11,000 elsewhere in west Africa, and the country was commended for its response to the disease.

"We have mobilized volunteers and staff who have previous experience in fighting Ebola to work with the affected communities to prevent further spread of the disease", said Grégoire Mateso, President of the DRC Red Cross.

"The number of suspected, probable and confirmed cases is significant, so we are very concerned, and we are planning for all scenarios, including the worst-case scenario", Salama said. Vaccinations cost $15-$20 per dose and 462 million people live in regions impacted by Ebola outbreaks. However, this is the first time that the Bikoro health zone is facing an Ebola outbreak.

Ebola is one of the world's most notorious diseases, being both highly infectious and extremely lethal. All of those could be traced back to Ikoko Impenge, about 60km away from Bikoro, except for one from the next door hamlet of Pangi.

Officials from the World Health Organization and other worldwide health agencies are in the area to help contain the outbreak's spread. But before the vaccine could be rolled out, the virus was stopped by methods used in earlier outbreaks - health workers in protective gear isolating the sick and burying the dead.

It said they had already arrived in the regional capital Mbandaka, about 150km away from the affected area.

Ebola is most feared for the internal and external bleeding it can cause in its victims owing to damage done to blood vessels.

During the massive Ebola crisis that gripped west Africa from 2014 to 2016, researchers were told about a bat-filled roosting tree in Guinea they suspected may have been ground zero for that outbreak.

The virus was first discovered there in 1976 (when the country was known as Zaire) and is named after the Ebola river.

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