TOP
Sunday,September 15,2019 12:28 PM

Ebola strikes again, killing 7-year-old boy in DRC

By AFP

Added 20th August 2019 07:08 AM

The latest outbreak is the second-deadliest on record after more than 11,000 people were killed in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia between 2014-2016.

Ebola 703x422

A health worker puts on his personal protective equipment before entering the red zone of a MSF-supported Ebola Treatment Centre in Bunia, in Ituri province. (AFP)

The latest outbreak is the second-deadliest on record after more than 11,000 people were killed in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia between 2014-2016.

HEALTH

A child has died from Ebola in DR Congo's South Kivu, health authorities said Monday, the second person to succumb to the virus since the epidemic spread to the eastern province.

The announcement last week of the first confirmed cases in South Kivu revived concerns that the highly contagious disease could cross the porous borders of the central African country, where it has claimed more than 1,900 lives since August last year.

"A seven-year-old child died yesterday (Sunday) of Ebola" in South Kivu's Mwenga region, said Claude Bahizire, communication officer of South Kivu's provincial health division.

 

The first death in South Kivu was a woman in her twenties who evaded movement controls to travel from the North Kivu town of Beni, the epicentre of the outbreak, to South Kivu's capital Bukavu and then Mwenga.

She died on Wednesday, and her seven-month-old son has been diagnosed with the virus and is receiving treatment.

Bahizire said that "two other suspected cases, two women, have been detected and admitted to Bukavu's transit centre".

The two women "were in contact with the woman who died last week while she was staying in Bukavu on the way to Mwenga," he added.

 n ovember 4 2018 health workers move a patient to a hospital after he was cleared of having bola inside a  octors ithout orders supported bola reatment entre  in utembo in orth ivu province On November 4, 2018, health workers move a patient to a hospital after he was cleared of having Ebola inside a MSF (Doctors Without Borders) supported Ebola Treatment Centre (ETC) in Butembo, in North Kivu province

 

The outbreak of the haemorrhagic virus began in North Kivu on August 1, 2018 and spread to Ituri province.

The health ministry also announced that "a new health zone had been assigned in North Kivu".

A confirmed case of Ebola has been recorded in North Kivu's Pinga region, in Walikale territory, a source said without providing further details.

According to the latest numbers published on Sunday, 1,934 people have since died, while 862 have been cured.

The latest outbreak is the second-deadliest on record after more than 11,000 people were killed in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia between 2014-2016.

Also on Monday, World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called on the nine countries that share a border with DR Congo to show solidarity to stop the spread of Ebola.

"We now have an Ebola vaccine that is more than 97 percent effective and treatments that are more than 90 per cent effective if used early enough," he said in Republic of Congo capital Brazzaville.

_________________________________


Two Ebola drugs found to increase survival rates

 

Last week Monday, it was revealed that scientists had moved a step closer to an effective treatment for Ebola after two drugs in a clinical trial were found to significantly boost survival rates, according to the US health authority co-funding the research.

The study began last November in the Democratic Republic of Congo, but its current phase has been halted and all future patients switched over to the treatments that have shown positive results, the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) said in a statement.

REGN-EB3 and mAb114 "are the first drugs that, in a scientifically sound study, have clearly shown a significant diminution in mortality for people with Ebola virus disease," Anthony Fauci, director of the NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told AFP.

Patients who were receiving two other drugs that are being discontinued, Zmapp and remdesivir, will now have the option at the discretion of their treating physician to receive the treatments that have been shown to work.

Fauci explained that the trial was designed to include 725 people, but was halted by an independent board when it had enrolled 681 people because at that point, one of the drugs, REGN-EB3 by Regeneron, reached a critical threshold in success, while mAb114 was not far behind.

Data has so far been analyzed for 499 people from the cohort of 681.

In this group, mortality dropped to 29 percent with REGN-EB3 and with mAb114 it fell to 34 percent, said Fauci -- compared to a rate of between 60 and 67 percent in the general population when the disease is not treated by a drug.

The rates for Zmapp and remdesivir were 49 percent and 53 percent respectively.

REGN-EB3, mAb114 and Zmapp are monoclonal antibodies that bind to glycoprotein on the Ebola virus and neutralize its ability to infect other cells.

Fauci added that the final analysis of the data, including the patients not yet processed, would occur in late September or early October, after which the complete results would be submitted for publication in peer-reviewed medical literature.

The NIH, Democratic Republic of Congo health authorities and the World Health Organization hailed the "extraordinary team of individuals who have worked under extremely difficult conditions to carry out this study," as well as the patients and their families.

_________________________________


Measles kill more people in DR Congo than Ebola: NGO

 Measles is preventable with a vaccine

 

Meanwhile, measles has killed 2,758 people in the DR Congo since January, more than the Ebola epidemic in a year, medical NGO Doctors Without Borders said, and last Saturday called for a "massive mobilisation of funds."

The disease, preventable with a vaccine, has infected over 145,000 people in the Democratic Republic of Congo between January and early August, it said in a statement.

"Since July, the epidemic has worsened, with a rise in new cases reported in several provinces," said the NGO that goes by its French acronym MSF.

"Only $2.5 million has been raised out of the $8.9 million required for the Health Cluster response plan  -- in stark contrast with the Ebola epidemic in the east of the country, which attracts multiple organisations and hundreds of millions of dollars in funding," it added.

MSF tweeted that without a "massive mobilisation of funds and response organisations, the current measles outbreak in #DRCongo could get even worse."

 

The NGO said it has vaccinated 474,860 children between the ages of six months and five years since the beginning of the year, and provided care to more than 27,000 measles patients.

In the country's east, Ebola has claimed more than 1,900 lives since erupting last August.

Measles is a highly-contagious diseased caused by a virus that attacks mainly children. The most serious complications include blindness, brain swelling, diarrhoea, and severe respiratory infections.

Last year, cases more than doubled to almost 350,000 from 2017, according to the World Health Organization, amid a rise in "anti-vaxxer" sentiment in some countries that can afford the vaccine, and lagging resources for the preventative measure in poor nations.

The DR Congo declared a measles epidemic in June.


ALSO RELATED TO THIS STORY

WHO declares Uganda Ebola-free

Ministry seeks sh64b for Ebola response

DR Congo trader succumbs to Ebola after Uganda visit

 

Related Articles

More From The Author

Related articles