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Democratic Republic of the Congo: further Ebola cases confirmed
Ebola continues to spread in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. According to the country's health minister, three new cases of illness have been confirmed. The World Health Organization (WHO) speaks of a worrying development.
More and more Ebola cases
Ebola continues to spread in the Congo. The dangerous infectious disease has meanwhile also reached the metropolis of Mbandaka, where three new Ebola cases have been confirmed, according to the Ministry of Health of the African country. According to media reports, the ministry currently expects a total of 43 possible cases. According to the information, the virus was clearly detected in 17 cases, in a further 21 the authorities considered Ebola infection to be probable and in five cases possible. So far, 25 people have died of the disease in the African country.
Fear of epidemic
Ebola outbreaks occur repeatedly on the African continent.
In 2016 alone, more than 28,600 people in West Africa were affected by the worst outbreak ever. There were 11,300 fatalities at the end of this epidemic.
According to experts, it is probably only a matter of time before the next one comes. The World Health Organization (WHO) warned long ago that a new outbreak of Ebola was inevitable.
The fear of an epidemic is great in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
"The arrival of Ebola in an urban area is very worrying, and WHO and its partners are working to speed up the search for all contacts of the confirmed case in the Mbandaka area," said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, in a press release.
WHO Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus spoke of a "worrying development" but also said that there are now better ways to fight Ebola than ever before.
"WHO and our partners are taking decisive measures to stop the virus from spreading further," said the expert.
Illness is often fatal
So far, Ebola has only occurred in sub-Saharan Africa. However, during the last Ebola epidemic in West Africa, individual cases were imported to the United States and Europe.
Early Ebola symptoms are non-specific and resemble a flu-like infection. This can include fever, malaise, fatigue and body aches.
"After 3 to 10 days, pain in the upper abdomen, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea can be added," explains the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) on its website.
"Other symptoms may appear in the course of the disease: reddening of the conjunctiva, headache and chest pain, joint and muscle pain, difficulty swallowing, internal and external bleeding (hemorrhages), delirium and shortness of breath," it continues.
According to the experts, depending on the virus responsible for the outbreak, the disease is fatal in 30 to 90 percent of the cases.
Human to human transmission
The Ebola virus is transmitted from person to person.
As the RKI explains, transmission takes place through direct physical contact with Ebola patients or deceased, in particular through direct contact with their body fluids, for example blood, saliva, sweat, urine, stool or vomit.
In addition, transmission for a certain time is also possible via objects that have come into contact with infectious liquids.
And even in contact with infected animals or infectious animal products, the Ebola virus can be transmitted to humans.
An approved vaccine against the dangerous disease is not yet available. (ad)