Ebola CRISIS: OUT OF CONTROL as virus KILLS DOZENS across Congo
THE EBOLA outbreak is “not under control” and has started to spread across the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), killing dozens in its path, as the Health Minister urges people to be vaccinated before the virus reaches pandemic levels.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has described the Ebola outbreak in the DRC as sitting on an "epidemiological knife-edge”, as the virus ravages through the West African country.
The government has so far confirmed nine deaths, however, it is widely believed a total of 22 people have been killed by the virus so far.
Leading Ebola expert, Håkon Bolkan told Express.co.uk: “The outbreak is definitely not under control yet.
“Within the following few weeks, we can expect surveillance to become more reliable and we will be able to know for sure if the number of new cases is more than those cured/dies.”
The DRC’s government announced the Ebola outbreak on May 8 after a series of suspected cases were reported to the ministry of health.
Congo’s Health Minister Oly Ilunga urged residents to come forward for the vaccinations before the Ebola outbreak reaches pandemic levels.
He said: “In the next five days 100 people must be vaccinated, including 70 health professionals.
“The priority of the government is to ensure that all these brave health professionals can do their job safely.”
Mr Bolkan declared the chances of the virus spreading to neighbouring countries is low, however.
He said: “The chances are there, that infected individuals travel to nearby countries, because the initial symptoms of Ebola are very unspecific, like a common cold or flu.
“However, all previous eight Ebola epidemics in the DRC have been contained within the country and given the awareness at local, national and international level.
“My take is that it is not likely to see this epidemic spread to nearby countries.”
This recent outbreak comes just four years after West Africa was gripped by the worst Ebola outbreak in history.
Over 10,000 people were reported to have died from the disease in six countries; Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, the US and Mali.
Mr Bolkan said: “Because there is a vaccine available now, and as far as I have understood, the government of DRC have approved it to be used for this outbreak” the DRC is unlikely to see replicated scenes.
He continued: “The vaccine campaign will be a ring-fenced approach, meaning all known contacts of confirmed cases will be vaccinated.
“Together with surveillance of potential contacts, this approach was successful in Guinea during the late phase of the West African outbreak.
“We can be carefully optimistic, however, as the vaccine has only been tested once before.”