KINSHASA – The death toll from the latest outbreak of the Ebola virus has more than doubled over the last 10 days. In our last report, the estimated number of deaths was “at least 20.” Today the count has reached 55.
Reports issued today claim that other cases of the virulent fever have been as either probably (69) or probably (27). Over 1,600 others have been confirmed as having come into contact with infected victims. Because the Ebola virus spreads so quickly, those 1,600 will require vaccination and possibly additional treatment as well under the World Health Organization’s (WHO) prevention protocols.
More than 11,000 people died as a result of an Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea between 2013 and 2016.
Meanwhile, WHO has identified the current outbreak as the Zaire strain, the deadliest of the four strains that can be contracted by humans. The upside, if there is one, is that this is the strain against which a majority of laboratories are targetting.
The DRC (the Democratic Republic of the Congo) has allowed health officials to begin using two vaccines that are still in development. The willingness to try experimental vaccines is an indication of the gravity of the situation. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not expect to consider either vaccine for approval for another 18 months.
Notwithstanding, WHO says that the outbreak is “rapidly evolving” as the organization seeks to identify every person who has been in contact with infected individuals before the disease can spread to and beyond them. Sub-Saharan countries bordering the DRC are preparing contingency plans in the event that the virus reaches into their countries as well.
The more than a million people displaced by the countries civil war remains a deep concern, but health agency officials cannot access all of them as the ongoing combat is restricting their ability to use normal access routes.
Pray for the protection of the people in the DRC. Pray also for the healthcare workers as they try to quell this latest outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus.
- The Daily Star, Ebola OUTBREAK: Death toll SOARS to 55 as authorities announce crisis plan
- Pharmaceutical Technology, Congo attempts to stem Ebola outbreak with experimental vaccine
- Outbreak News Today, Ebola cases rise in DR Congo, Immunization activities continue
- By NIAID (Ebola Virus Particles) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons