Ebola

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Health officials in Sierra Leone have confirmed a death from Ebola, hours after the World Health Organization declared the West Africa outbreak over.

The country was declared free of the virus on 7 November, and the region as a whole cleared when Liberia was pronounced Ebola-free on Thursday.

But two tests conducted on a boy who died in northern Sierra Leone proved positive for the virus, a health ministry spokesman told the BBC.

It is not clear when the boy died.

Health ministry spokesman Sidi Yahya Tunis told the BBC that he had died in the northern Tonkolili. The tests were conducted by British health experts.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-35320363
 
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Two new Ebola cases have been confirmed in Guinea, almost three months after it celebrated the end of the outbreak.

Three other members of the family are suspected to have recently died from the virus.

The cases were reported in the southern region of Nzerekore, where the outbreak began in December 2013.

The Ebola outbreak killed more than 11,300 people - mostly in Guinea and its neighbours Sierra Leone and Liberia.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-35840782
 
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An Ebola outbreak has been declared in the Democratic Republic of the Congo(DRC), where three people have been confirmed dead and another six are suspected to be infected with the virus, the World Health Organization has said.

Investigations are still being carried out into how the Ebola virus – which killed 49 people in DRC during a three-month outbreak in 2014 – suddenly occured in the equatorial forest region of Bas-Uele province, which borders Central African Republic (CAR).

In a televised address, DRC’s health minister, Oly Ilunga Kalenga, warned that the outbreak was a “national health emergency with international significance” but urged people “not to panic”.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2...lic-of-congo-after-three-die?CMP=share_btn_tw
 
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Well it's over - for now. Basic public health infrastructure is often lacking though.

Ebola outbreak in Africa ends — but gaps in public health leave region vulnerable
But experts say effective response to the outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo helped prevent the virus from spreading.

Epidemiologist Anne Rimoin boarded a flight to Kinshasa on 19 May with a precious cargo in her luggage: the components of a diagnostic test for Ebola.

Rimoin hoped that the test, the GeneXpert Ebola Assay, would help officials to track cases in the latest Ebola outbreak, which was declared in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) on 11 May. The test was developed during the disastrous 2014 Ebola epidemic in West Africa.

The existence of the Ebola assay is a sign that the world’s ability to respond to outbreaks of the virus has improved. But the test was not available where it was needed when Ebola erupted in the DRC, says Rimoin, of the University of California, Los Angeles, who has worked with the Congolese Ministry of Health for 15 years. “The fact that I had to go out there with diagnostics in my briefcase is an example of the fact that we’re not fully prepared on that score,” she says. ;;;

http://www.nature.com/news/ebola-ou...public-health-leave-region-vulnerable-1.22227
 
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It hasn't gone away, bad news from the DRC.

The World Health Organization has declared an outbreak of Ebola after the Democratic Republic of the Congo confirmed two cases of the deadly viral hemorrhagic fever.

At least 10 more cases are suspected in the northwestern town of Bikoro, Dr. Jean-Jacques Muyembe-Tamfum, the head of the DRC’s National Institute for Biomedical Research, said Tuesday.

In the past five weeks, the DRC has seen 21 suspected cases with Ebola-like symptoms and 17 deaths.

A team of experts from WHO, Doctors Without Borders and the central African country’s Provincial Division of Health traveled on Tuesday to the outbreak area. WHO said in a statement that it is working with the DRC government to “rapidly scale up its operations and mobilize health partners using the model of a successful response to a similar EVD [Ebola virus disease] outbreak in 2017.” ...

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entr...cid=newsltushpmgnews__TheMorningEmail__050918
 
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Ebola outbreak threatens city of a million people in DR Congo
May 18, 2018
Experimental vaccine rushed to the city of Mbandaka after confirmed case of the deadly virus

The World Health Organization will hold an emergency meeting today, as Ebola threatens to spread through a Congolese city.

“At least 44 people are believed to have been infected” during a new outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo, says the BBC, and “23 deaths are currently being investigated”.

The greatest cause for concern is a confirmed case of the deadly disease in Mbandaka, a city of about a million people and a transport hub on the Congo River in the north-west of the country.

“This is a major, major game-changer in the outbreak,” said Dr Peter Salama, the WHO’s deputy director-general of emergency preparedness and response. “We’re certainly not trying to cause any panic in the national or international community, [but] urban Ebola can result in an exponential increase in cases in a way that rural Ebola struggles to do.”

Other cases in this outbreak “have been detected in more isolated areas, giving authorities a better chance of ring-fencing the virus”, The Guardian reports.

International teams are seeking to isolate and treat anyone who may have been exposed to the virus.

“Medical teams have been rushing to track down anyone thought to have had contact with infected people,” says Time magazine, “while WHO is shipping thousands of doses of an experimental vaccine.”

http://www.theweek.co.uk/ebola/93681/ebola-outbreak-threatens-city-of-a-million-people-in-dr-congo
 
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Lunacy.

Three Ebola patients left a treatment centre in the Democratic Republic of Congo after their families demanded to take them to church, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Two of the patients later died, while the third returned to the centre in the city of Mbandaka.

This presents a new challenge for health workers battling to stop the spread of the contagious disease, says the BBC's Anne Soy in DR Congo.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-44229346
 

AlchoPwn

Public Service is my Motto.
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Where does it keep coming from? It's a real mystery.
Wikipedia tells us:
The natural reservoir for Ebola has yet to be confirmed; however, bats are considered to be the most likely candidate species.[51] Three types of fruit bats (Hypsignathus monstrosus, Epomops franqueti and Myonycteris torquata) were found to possibly carry the virus without getting sick.[75] As of 2013, whether other animals are involved in its spread is not known.[74]Plants, arthropods, rodents, and birds have also been considered possible viral reservoirs.[1][23]

Bats were known to roost in the cotton factory in which the first cases of the 1976 and 1979 outbreaks were observed, and they have also been implicated in Marburg virus infections in 1975 and 1980.[76] Of 24 plant and 19 vertebrate species experimentally inoculated with EBOV, only bats became infected.[77] The bats displayed no clinical signs of disease, which is considered evidence that these bats are a reservoir species of EBOV. In a 2002–2003 survey of 1,030 animals including 679 bats from Gabon and the Republic of the Congo, 13 fruit bats were found to contain EBOV RNA.[78] Antibodies against Zaire and Reston viruses have been found in fruit bats in Bangladesh, suggesting that these bats are also potential hosts of the virus and that the filoviruses are present in Asia.[79]

Between 1976 and 1998, in 30,000 mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and arthropods sampled from regions of EBOV outbreaks, no Ebola virus was detected apart from some genetic traces found in six rodents (belonging to the species Mus setulosus and Praomys) and one shrew (Sylvisorex ollula) collected from the Central African Republic.[76][80] However, further research efforts have not confirmed rodents as a reservoir.[81] Traces of EBOV were detected in the carcasses of gorillas and chimpanzees during outbreaks in 2001 and 2003, which later became the source of human infections. However, the high rates of death in these species resulting from EBOV infection make it unlikely that these species represent a natural reservoir for the virus.[76]

The CDC tells us:
Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) is a rare and deadly disease most commonly affecting people and nonhuman primates (monkeys, gorillas, and chimpanzees). It is caused by an infection with one of five known Ebola virus species, four of which can cause disease in people:
  • Ebola virus (Zaire ebolavirus)
  • Sudan virus (Sudan ebolavirus)
  • Taï Forest virus (Taï Forest ebolavirus, formerly Côte d’Ivoire ebolavirus)
  • Bundibugyo virus (Bundibugyo ebolavirus)
  • Reston virus (Reston ebolavirus), known to cause disease in nonhuman primates and pigs, but not in people
Ebola virus was first discovered in 1976 near the Ebola River in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo. Since then, the virus has been infecting people from time to time, leading to outbreaks in several African countries. Scientists do not know where Ebola virus comes from. However, based on the nature of similar viruses, they believe the virus is animal-borne, with bats being the most likely source. The bats carrying the virus can transmit it to other animals, like apes, monkeys, duikers and humans.

Scientific American suggests:
The hollow Cola tree growing in a remote area of southeastern Guinea was once home to thousands of bats routinely hunted and killed by the neighborhood children. It was also a popular spot to play. A year ago, one child in particular lived within fifty meters of the tree: a two-year-old boy who died in December 2013 and later was identified as the first person in west Africa known to have developed Ebola. The tree was one of the few that loomed over his home village of Meliandou, a hamlet of 31 houses. The question that now haunts researchers: were the tree’s occupants behind how that small boy contracted the virus in the first place? Taken from "Where Does Ebola Come From" By Dina Fine Maron on December 30, 2014
 
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The struggle to tame Ebola continues.

An experimental Ebola vaccine will likely be used again in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to help end an outbreak.

Roughly a week after celebrating the defeat of an Ebola outbreak in Équateur province, the DRC has four new confirmed cases of the disease 2500 kilometers across the country in North Kivu province. The DRC’s health ministry says there’s no indication of a link between the outbreaks. “It’s sad,” says Yap Boum, a microbiologist based in Yaoundé who works with Doctors Without Borders, a nongovernmental organization that helped run an Ebola vaccine campaign against the previous outbreak.

A DRC Ministry of Public Health spokesperson told ScienceInsider today that the decision to use the vaccine again was “common sense” because they had remaining doses in stock and scientific and ethical committees already have approved its continued study. The Équateur “trial” of the vaccine had no control group and cannot conclude whether it contributed to the end of that outbreak, but preliminary results show that none of the 3300 vaccinated people became infected.

Ebola is endemic in the DRC, which now has had 10 outbreaks since the virus first was discovered there in 1976. “Although we did not expect to face a 10th epidemic so early, the detection of the virus is an indicator of the proper functioning of the surveillance system,” a DRC Ministry of Public Health communique said. Boum adds that the DRC villages today are much more connected than in the past, and many previous small outbreaks may have gone undetected. ...

http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018...ly_2018-08-03&et_rid=394299689&et_cid=2232294
 
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Worrying news: almost 20% of new cases have been carers,

Health care workers have been especially hard hit by the current outbreak of Ebola in the northeastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). To date, nine of the 51 confirmed cases of Ebola have been in people caring for the ill, says Peter Salama, an epidemiologist based in Geneva, Switzerland, who heads the response to the outbreak for the World Health Organization (WHO).

“There’s an extremely low level of knowledge and awareness about Ebola in the area,” Salama says. “Early on, the health care workers took no precautions whatsoever, and unfortunately, we’re expecting more confirmed cases from that group.”

The outbreak is the 10th in the DRC since the disease first surfaced in 1976, and though it is the first to occur in this region of the country, Salama says he was surprised how little the affected communities knew about the deadly disease. In the past, health care workers have often been heavily affected during the early days of outbreaks, but the massive Ebola outbreak that caused more than 28,000 cases in West Africa in 2014–16 brought more attention to the risks and proper responses than ever before.

http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018...ly_2018-08-17&et_rid=394299689&et_cid=2274162
 
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And things worsen in the DRC.

After a surge of 27 additional Ebola cases in the last five days in the Democratic Republic of Congo, global health leaders are growing increasingly concerned that the deadly outbreak could spread beyond their reach.

Experts are blaming the sharp jump in cases ― which had previously slowed to about 10 a week ― on an uptick in rebel and mob violence in the outbreak’s new epicenter of Beni. In recent days, angry community protests and continued local resistance have frequently brought the efforts of emergency health responders to a standstill.

“We said from the beginning this is probably the most difficult context with which [we’ve] ever had to respond to an Ebola outbreak, and we stand by that assessment,” said Dr. Peter Salama, the World Health Organization’s emergency response chief.

The Ebola outbreak ― already the seventh largest of all time ― is close to topping 200 potential cases, including 159 confirmed cases and 35 probable ones as of Wednesday, according to the DRC Ministry of Health. An estimated 122 people have died since July.

Most concerning, an estimated 70 percent of the 27 new cases were not known contacts, said Ray Arthur, the co-lead of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Ebola coordination team. That means the emergency response team could be losing track of chains of transmission in the community, he said.

Close monitoring is essential for this deadly hemorrhagic fever, which spreads through contact with bodily fluid. When cases start appearing from contacts who are unknown, that’s when such outbreaks begin to spiral out of authorities’ hands, experts say. ...

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/ebola-outbreak-worsens-congo_us_5bb534d6e4b0876eda9ac7dc?dw
 
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Ebola outbreak in Congo worsens. Due to problems like war it is difficult to contain.

The Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo is now the second largest in history, according to figures from the World Health Organization. Since the outbreak was declared Aug. 1, 426 people are suspected or confirmed to have been infected with the deadly hemorrhagic virus, which has killed at least 242.

“It’s a tragedy because it should be completely preventable, but it’s not,” J. Stephen Morrison told HuffPost. The director of the Global Health Policy Center, a program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank, stressed that, although this outbreak still pales in comparison to the one that began in 2014 in West Africa ― killing over 11,300 and infecting 28,600 ― it is highly dangerous.

The Ebola crisis has become a battle with many fronts. The outbreak is in a war zone, where violence and protests often interrupt the efforts to control the disease. ...

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entr...cid=newsltushpmgnews__TheMorningEmail__112918
 
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