Large Ebola outbreaks new normal, says WHO

Henrietta Strickland
June 9, 2019

But the Democratic Republic of Congo is dealing with the second largest outbreak ever, just three years after the world's largest one ended.

Total cases since the epidemic began in August 2018 surpassed 2,000 this week, reports Axios.

High impact disease outbreaks such as Ebola could become the "new normal", the World Health Organization has said. 1,367 people are confirmed dead due to the disease, reports Axios. Dr Ryan also underlined the complexity of transmission dynamics: "One-fifth of cases seek healthcare in another health zone entirely before they're detected, which means one-fifth of cases are moving not only out of a health area, but moving out of an entire health zone, and are very often presenting for the first time in a health facility that's very far away from where they actually live, so it's quite hard to make the connections between transmission chains when you have that sort of movement".

There have been 2,025 occasion of Ebola and 1,357 deaths from the virus throughout the outburst within the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Roughly 88 infections have been detected each of the last two weeks, down from a peak of 126 weekly in April, and WHO health teams are monitoring 15,000 suspected contacts each day for symptoms, Mr Ryan said.

There were "a lot of cases with delayed detection", he added.

More than 130,000 people have been vaccinated to date, according to the health ministry.

He said: "It's not them that matter now, it's the 10 per cent that don't, because all of our cases are coming from that group".

It's say a combination of human and natural changes is forcing mankind to prepare for deadly epidemics.

Dr Ryan warned that the Ebola epidemic was not under control and was spreading fast in certain areas, including the rural area of Mabalako, with violent unrest in the region preventing detection. Ryan said risks to aid workers had decreased of late but noted a deadly attack on civilians earlier this week.

"We need the government to reach out to the opposition, we need an "all-party" approach".

"We need a single voice of leaders in Congo about this outbreak".

Dr Josie Golding, the epidemics lead at the Wellcome Trust, agreed the world needed to get better at preparing for such outbreaks.

The world's worst epidemic of Ebola, a haemorrhagic fever, killed about 11,300 people in West Africa as it raced through Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia from 2013 to 2016.

He mentioned local weather change, rising illnesses, exploitation of the rainforest, massive and extremely cell populations, weak governments and battle have been making outbreaks more likely to happen and extra likely to swell in dimension as soon as they did.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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