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Congo Ebola outbreak: WHO records 62 cases, 27 deaths

10 June 2018

Over the past month, 27 of these individuals have died.

Dr. Salama, the United Nations health agency's Deputy Director-General for Emergency Preparedness and Response, was fresh from a two-day visit to the DRC. Salama said he is "cautiously optimistic".

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.

World Health Organization is now entering a new phase in which it moves its focus from urban areas to the extremely remote forest areas in north-western Congo where the outbreak began. This is the first time such treatments are available in the midst of an Ebola outbreak.

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The DRC now has 38 confirmed cases of the virus, including 13 deaths, the country's health ministry said.

"There's been very strong progress in the outbreak response, particularly in relation to two of three sites", Salama said. This figure includes 673 people in Mbandaka, 398 in Bikoro, 725 in Iboko, and 30 in Ingende, also located in the Equateur province.

WHO has been working with the Ministry of Health and worldwide partners, including M-decins Sans Fronti-res (Doctors Without Borders) to inoculate only those people at high risk of infection: primary and secondary contacts.

An AP report Friday quoted DRC's health ministry saying another Ebola case had been confirmed even as the pace of new cases slows down.

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"The latest case, confirmed on Thursday, was in the remote Iboko health zone in the northwest, an indication that the outbreak is ongoing, he said". He also said many cases in the area are connected to a super-spreader, a female nurse who treated people both formally and informally.

Phase one of the disease response was about protecting the urban centres and towns and that had gone well, Salama said, but phase two, tackling the remote forested areas, was an enormous logistical effort that would go on for weeks.

Through this plan, WHO will closely work with the Ministries of Health and wider government stakeholders, the intersectoral and interagency mechanisms and partners and will leverage the emergency mechanisms in place including Emergency Medical Teams, Health Clusters, and GOARN. More than 98% of known contacts have been vaccinated, Salama said.

On the front lines of the outbreak, health officials use a tool called contact tracing to break the chain of transmission of the Ebola virus.

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Congo Ebola outbreak: WHO records 62 cases, 27 deaths