World Health Organization optimistic that Ebola is under control in major city

Ebola literature

Emergency Health Chief, Peter Salama, said this at a news conference in Geneva.

The current outbreak is still on a low scale compared with a three-nation epidemic that occurred between 2013-15 but has stirred wide concern. The newest confirmed case is in rural Iboko and is linked to a probable Ebola death on May 20, the ministry 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. "And then if there is a confirmation of a case, every contact of those cases", he explained.

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.

"We are cautiously optimistic, but there is a lot of very tough work to do to be able say we are on top of the outbreak", Salama said. It's the identification and follow-up of all people who may have come into contact with a person infected with the infectious disease.

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He warned, however, that experts are not in a position to document all chains of transmission of the virus, so "there may still yet be unknown chains out there and there may still be surprises in this outbreak".

Beginning with the 1976 discovery of Ebola in an area that is now the Democratic Republic of Congo, the country has experienced nine outbreaks.

The area had no infrastructure and could be covered only by motorbike, with several hours needed to trace every contact, he said.

World Health Organization however, said in the context of an outbreak characterized by high mortality, it can be ethically appropriate to offer individual patients investigational interventions on an emergency basis outside clinical trials.

However, the Congolese government is considering other experimental treatments that it is evaluating for use. Some of these treatments, when given as late as day five of symptoms, led to high protection in monkeys, he said, adding that the choice of product for each patient will be decided by clinicians. "But we know to never underestimate Ebola".

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