Uganda Intensifies Ebola Screening At DRC Border Posts

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The World Health Organisation's director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus will visit the Democratic Republic of Congo this weekend to assess the country's needs as it faces an Ebola outbreak that was declared earlier this week, WHO said in a statement.

Ebola is endemic to the Democratic Republic of Congo, and this is the nation's ninth outbreak of Ebola virus disease since the discovery of the virus in the country in 1976.

Of the suspected cases, two have been confirmed as Ebola using laboratory tests, and 10 samples are awaiting results.

"It is basically 15 hours by motorbike from the closest town", WHO's head of emergency response Peter Salama said.

The Ebola virus was first identified in the 1970s in DR Congo in a village near the Ebola River, which gave a name to the disease.

"DRC is more than 3,000km away, but we are already prepared for screening all the targeted areas where Ebola can come into the country".

This outbreak started back in December, about 20 miles from Bikoro, in Equateur province.

He said "We are also on a high alert; the ports, border officers as well as all the districts have been alerted to look out for the signs and symptoms of the virus". Soon, health-care workers and those who touched the bodies of the dead were coming down with the virus themselves, and then passing it to others.

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If you don't die from Ebola, you might suffer from long-term disability and stand the risk of being persistently infected with a chance of the disease reoccurring years later.

On Friday, WHO said on Friday it hopes to deploy an experimental Ebola vaccine to tackle an outbreak in a remote area of Congo to prevent it spreading.

Officials are concerned about the virus reaching Mbandaka, the capital of Equateur province, Medical Xpress reported.

Ebola is thought to be spread over long distances by fruit bats and is often transmitted to humans through contaminated bush meat.

The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) has also mobilized doctors, sanitation and hygiene specialists, to help contain the spread of the disease.

The WHO is also awaiting a green light from DRC authorities to begin a vaccination campaign in the area, using an available stockpile of an experimental vaccine, he said.

"We started well, and now we need to continue well, and we'll need the support of the entire worldwide community for this response", he said.

Congo's health ministry on Tuesday, May 8, described the fresh outbreak as a "public health emergency with global impact". Without preventive measures, the virus can spread quickly between people and is fatal in up to 50 per cent of cases.

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