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EBOLA: No need for travel restrictions, says WHO

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By Sola Ogundipe

THE World Health Organisation, WHO, has ruled out restrictions in the Democratic Republic of Congo in the wake of the outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease in a part of the country.

Two more suspected cases of Ebola were conformed even as Port Health officials are at alert in all of the country’s airports and surveillance has been stepped up.

Officials of the WHO say situation is being taken “very seriously”.

To  prevent the spread of the virus , they are  quickly tracking down, testing, isolating and treating suspected cases. There is no specific treatment  or cure for Ebola.

Although the full extent of the 2017 outbreak is still not yet clear, but  WHO is not recommending any restriction of travel and trade to DRC based on the currently available information.

This is the eighth outbreak of Ebola virus disease since its discovery in 1976 in the DRC.

The worst Ebola outbreak was in 2014, when the virus infected more than 28,000 and killed over 11,300 people in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

On 20 November 2014, in line with WHO recommendations, the Ministry of Health of DRC and WHO declared the end of the Ebola Virus disease outbreak that started on 24 August 2014 and resulted in a total of 38 laboratory confirmed cases and 28 probable cases including 49 deaths in Boende, Equateur province.

The Ebola virus has been most detrimental in West Africa, where it killed more than 11,000 people in 2014-15.

Clinical tests by the World Health Organization tested one of the bodies positive of the Ebola after the patient fell sick of haemorrhagic fever along the borders of Central African Republic.

The disease is fatal in almost 90 percent of cases and is highly contagious, spreading  by direct contact and leaving survivors with long-term health problems.

The WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti visited Kinshasa late last week to discuss with national authorities and partners ways to mount a rapid, effective and coherent response in order to stop the ongoing Ebola outbreak.

The visit followed notification by the DRC Government of an outbreak of Ebola virus disease in Likati health zone, Bas Uele Province, in the northern part of the country bordering Central African Republic.

The first case occurred on 22 April in a 45-year-old male. He was transported by taxi to hospital and was dead on arrival. The driver also fell ill and later died. A third person who cared for the first case also became ill and has subsequently died. At present, 25 contacts of the second patient who died are being followed. Of the cases and deaths, 1 has been tested PCR-positive for Ebola.

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