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World Health Organization ready to deploy Ebola vaccines to DRC

World Health Organization ready to deploy Ebola vaccines to DRC

The risk to public health is assessed as high at the local level, moderate at the regional level and low at the global level, according to the WHO.

On Tuesday, Ilunga requested support to strengthen the response to this outbreak. He is not being replaced. In fact, during the large West Africa outbreak, another Ebola popped up in the DRC (66 cases) and was promptly detected and contained.

According to WHO Deputy Director-General Peter Salama, 32 confirmed cases of Ebola were registered in DR Congo, including 18 lethal ones.

"And we know the number of suspected probable and confirmed cases is significant".

But the outbreak may be worse than it seems, a World Health Organization official told Stat, since it may have started earlier and spread further than has been reported. There has been 21 suspected cases in total in the past five weeks. The virus is also spread through sexual contact.

A team of WHO experts, alongside regional health officials and staff from worldwide medical charity Doctors Without Borders (known by its French initials, MSF), are working in Bikoro as part of a coordinated medical response to the crisis.

Nigeria's immigration service said on Thursday, May 10, that it had increased screening tests at airports and other entry points as a precautionary measure.

Ebola's potential to spread rapidly is the reason it's essential to have dedicated officials coordinating a response to an outbreak before it turns into a deadly epidemic or pandemic.

There have been several recorded outbreaks of Ebola since its discovery in the early 1970s - all but one have been small. Fatality rates have varied from 25% to 90% in past outbreaks, with an average of about 50%.

"But if it started in December, then no, the best thing to do may be come to back next December" (when the same type of bats may return to the area), says Pierre Rollin, an Ebola expert at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who has responded to most known Ebola outbreaks.

Signs and symptoms typically start between two days and three weeks after contracting the virus with a fever, sore throat, muscular pain and headaches.

Congo notified the World Health Organization of the outbreak on May 8, and there have been about 32 suspected, probable or confirmed cases of the deadly disease since April 4, including 18 deaths, according to WHO's deputy director-general of emergency preparedness and response.

Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus in a Twitter post said the agreement was made in a phone call with DRC's health minister on Thursday.

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