42 cases of the Ebola virus disease (EVD) has been reported in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in the ongoing outbreak. This is according to Jessica Ilunga, spokeswoman for the country’s Ministry of Public Health, on Tuesday.
The Congo’s health ministry publicly declared the beginning of the EVD epidemic on May 8.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) in a press statement on Monday announced that April 4 through May 13, a total of 39 Ebola virus disease cases had been reported in DRC, including 19 deaths.
“The latest numbers until May 13, 2018 are: 42 cases, including 2 confirmed; 21 probable and 19 suspected.
“Majority of the cases are in the health zone of Bikoro; others are reported in the health zones of Iboko and Wangata,” Mrs Ilunga said.
The spokeswoman added that all people with confirmed or suspected EVD would be moved to the Ebola treatment centres as soon as the facilities were ready.
Mrs Ilunga stated that a key feature of the government’s response to the current Ebola outbreak would be vaccination.
The WHO is expected to send 4,000 doses of Ebola vaccine to DRC in the near future.
This will be the first time that DRC includes vaccination in its national EVD response plan.
The spokeswoman noted that government was trying to prevent the spread of EVD by carrying out screening tests at the airports and other entry points to Mbandaka, capital of the Equateur Province.
The Ebola-hit Bikoro, Iboko, and Wangata health zones are located in the Equateur province.
“In order to prevent the spread of the virus to the neighbouring urban centres, the ministry has set up surveillance checks at all entry points of the city of Mbandaka.
Now our health agents monitor the temperature of all people travelling to and from Mbandaka by air, sea and land.
Furthermore, the ministry is working with health authorities in other urban centres near Mbandaka, including Kinshasa and Kisangani, to prepare contingency plans in these cities as well,” Ilunga said.
This is the DRC’s ninth EVD outbreak since the virus was discovered in the country in 1976.