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The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

Ebola outbreak in Congo grows

    By Valerie Nea

    Copy Editor

      The Ebola outbreak in  the Democratic Republic of Congo(DRC) is the second largest Ebola outbreak in history. It has recently worsened with over 1,400 confirmed cases and 66 probable ones. Since the outbreak started, there has been 914 dead and 415 cured.

      The outbreak started in August 2018 at the northeastern provinces of North Kivu and Ituri which are also the most populated areas in the nation. Even though it has been going on for the past ten months, the virus has not spread beyond the borders of the DRC.

      Robert Steffen, chair of the World Health Organization(WHO), convened a committee of external experts that concluded the outbreak of Ebola is not an international emergency.

      “We considered there would be no added benefit by declaring [an emergency], particularly as excellent work is being done on the ground by WHO and many partner organizations,” he stated.

      Currently, the government of the DRC’s Ministry of Health, the WHO, and international partners are trying to help control the outbreak by providing health care for the sick and tracking down people they have been in contact with to work on vaccinating those at risk. They are also working to improve understanding to affected communities about how Ebola is spread and how to prevent it by suggesting practical ways to protect themselves.

      WHO is having a difficult time containing the virus due to setbacks such as a lack of infrastructure in the communities of outbreak and threats form local militia groups towards partners trying to help.

      Tedros Ghebreyesus, WHO director, stated that, “WHO and its partners cannot tackle these challenges without the international community steppin into fill the sizable funding gap.”

     After the 2014 Ebola outbreak in Africa, countries established the Contingency Fund for Emergencies so that WHO had enough money to continue their work in the future. Because donations have been falling short, WHO is once again looking for funds to help with the current DRC Ebola outbreak.

      However, unlike the 2014 outbreak, there are now developed vaccines and experimental treatments to stop the spread of the disease. The DRC has distributed their experimental vaccination to over 110,000 people and have developed a new method of distribution. Their plan is to stretch vaccine supplies and give smaller doses to everyone in affected villages rather than just the contacts of the infected.

      For a clearer understanding, Ebola is a virus that causes bleeding, organ failure, and can lead to death. In its early stages is hard to detect because symptoms like fevers and chills are similar to Malaria which is very common in the DRC region. The only way to diagnose Ebola is specialized Ebola treatment centers which requires testing viral particles in blood. Because it is a viral infection, it takes several days to be detected.

      While this disease is not highly contagious, it is transmittable through the contact of bodily fluids like blood or a break in the skin membrane.

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    Ebola outbreak in Congo grows