According to the World Health Organization (WHO), healthcare workers are monitoring 1,000 people at this time during the newest Ebola outbreak in Congo. The epicenter of the newest outbreak is Beni, and where a medical quarantine has been set up. 44 cases have been reported, 17 of them have been confirmed as Ebola, including 10 deaths.
Beni, Congo is a city in north eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, lying immediately west of the Virunga National Park and the Rwenzori Mountains, on the edge of the Ituri Forest. The first outbreak reported July 2018 was in the north western part of the country. The location of Benji adds complication in controlling the outbreak.
- Dense population
- Rebel forces, especially near the Uganda border
Both of these pose a threat for the fast spread of the disease, as well as ability to get vaccine and supplies to aid in treatment. WHO has dealt with these problems in the past.
The Ebola vaccine produced by Merck is still in experimental phase, however was succesful in helping stop the July outbreak on the other side of the country. The concern at the moment is understanding what type of Ebloa outbreak. There are three strains of the virus –Zaire, Sudan and Bundibugyo. Merck’s vaccine is only effective against the Zaire strain, and is the only vaccine that has gone through Phase 3 efficacy trials, a spokesman for the GAVI global vaccine alliance said.
“If this [outbreak] turns out to be Ebola Zaire, then certainly that would bring that option into play,” Salama said. “If it doesn’t we are going to have to look at much more complex options, and we may not have any vaccine options.”
Ebola spreads through the direct contact of bodily fluid. Symptoms appear within 2 – 21 days after contracting the virus. Symptoms include fever, aches, weakness, diarrhea, stomach pain, and vomitting.