Officials today reported 7 new Ebola cases in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), increasing the total outbreak to 319 confirmed or probable cases, making outbreaks in the country's largest Kivu province and Ituri in its history.
"On Friday, November 9, 2018, the epidemic of Ebola Virus in North Kivu and Ituri provinces had just surpassed the first epidemic recorded in 1976 in Yambuku, Ecuador province," said Health Minister Oly Ilunga Kalenga, MD, in the DRC health ministry update.
"There is no other epidemic in the world that is as complex as we are currently experiencing," Kalenga added. "Since their arrival in the region, responsive teams have faced threats, physical attacks, repeated destruction of their equipment, and kidnappings. Two of our colleagues at the Rapid Response Medical Unit even lost their lives in the attack."
Even with the extensive use of the Ebola vaccine from Merck, the virus has held the region as a response effort that has been slowed by hard fighting and community resistance over the past 3 months.
Seven new deaths, 52 suspected cases
In total, 198 people have died during this outbreak, of which 7 are more than the DRC reported yesterday. And 52 suspected cases are still under investigation, up from 40 yesterday, according to WHO data.
In an updated outbreak of the disease published yesterday, the WHO said major progress had been made to control the outbreak, while acknowledging that "there are still challenging paths ahead to control intense transmission in the city of Beni and emerging hotspots in the villages around Beni and Butembo."
From October 31 to November 6, officials have recorded 29 new cases, including 15 in Beni, 7 in Butembo, 4 in Kalunguta, 2 in Mabalako, and 1 in Vuhov. Today, one of the new cases is recorded in the Kyondo Health Zone, which is located next to Butembo.
Although there are no cases that cross the DRC border, WHO says the risk of international spread remains high.
"The risk of spreading to other provinces in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as to neighboring countries, remains very high. During the past week, warnings have been reported from South Sudan, Uganda and Yemen; EVD [Ebola virus disease] it has been ruled out for all warnings to date, "said the WHO.
The FDA approved the Ebola fingerstick test
In a related development, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today announced an emergency use authorization (EUA) for the new rapid Ebola test results. The disposable test uses a portable battery-operated reader, which makes it useful for testing outside the laboratory and in remote areas, the agency said in a news release.
The test, called the DPP Ebola Antigen System, is the second fast Ebola fingerstick test to hit the market.
"This EUA is part of the agency's ongoing efforts to help reduce potential, future threats by making medical products that have the potential to prevent, diagnose or treat available as soon as possible," FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD said in a press release.
"We are committed to helping DRC people effectively deal with and end the current Ebola outbreak. By endorsing the first fingerstick test with portable readers, we hope to arm better healthcare providers in the field to more quickly detect viruses in patients and improve outcomes. patient. "
The FDA does not determine the accuracy of tests or provide data that leads to EUA.
Refusing US support
In another US response news, Jeremy Youde, PhD, a professor of international relations at the Australian National University, wrote in Washington Postt how exactly does the US federal government withdraw support in the field in the DRC in mid-October. Youde quoted an analyst who called the move part of a "post-Benghazi hangover from the risk aversion of the US government."
Despite arguments from the Director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Robert Redfield, MD, on the contrary, the federal government says that keeping American workers on the ground is too dangerous. Other countries, however, including Canada and the United Kingdom, have personnel in the region, as well as the Gates Foundation.
Youde said that, while US involvement would not suddenly end the outbreak, it drew support which set a dangerous precedent for America.
DRC Update Nov. 9
November 8 notification of WHO outbreak
Nov. 9 FDA release news
Nov. 8 Washington Post story