Published: Sun, June 10, 2018
Medical | By Vicki Mclaughlin

Ebola treatments approved for compassionate use in current outbreak

Ebola treatments approved for compassionate use in current outbreak

In spite of reports of the reduction in new Ebola cases, the Catholic Church in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has said that measures aimed at minimising the risk of the spread of Ebola would remain in place until further notice.

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.

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 gave a press briefing over the WHO's Twitter account earlier today.

The outbreak stands at 62 cases, including 27 deaths, with the most recent confirmed case identified on Jun 2 in a known contact from Iboko health zone.

"I am confident that this Ebola outbreak will soon be contained", said Claude Jibidar, WFP's DRC Country Director. "And then if there is a confirmation of a case, every contact of those cases", he explained.

"What this is telling us is the response (the WHO's vaccination program) is having an impact in those two locations", said Salama. "But we know to never underestimate Ebola".

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Msgr. Bomengola told CNS Ebola had "made everything more hard for the population", adding that there were fears the disease could spread down the Congo River from the trading hub of Mbandaka to Kinshasa, a city of 10 million. Two were in Bikoro, three in Iboko and one in Wangata.

Four of the five approved drugs are now in the country.

"It takes an enormous logistical challenge to reach suspected cases and contacts", Salama said.

In contrast to previous Ebola outbreaks, health workers have moved quickly to halt the spread of the virus by vaccinating everybody who has had contact with Ebola patients, and everybody who has had contact with those primary contacts.

Yesterday, the DRC's Ministry of Health said a team of Chinese experts was arriving today in Kinshasa to assist the Congolese health authorities and reportedly bringing an experimental Chinese Ebola vaccine to health authorities, according to Stat today. To date, DRC has approved only the use of Merck's vaccine.

World Health Organization says the Ebola response will cost more than $15.5 million U.S. over nine months.

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