Kinshasa, Jun 7 (Prensa Latina) The Ministry of Health announced today that it held an awareness day with 50 traditional doctors (healers) seeking support in the fight against the Ebola epidemic in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The deadly virus has killed 27 people since the outbreak began in April, and there have been 62 cases, 38 of which were confirmed in a laboratory.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has vaccinated more than 1,000 people over the past two weeks, including health workers who are at high risk.
On 4 June, an ethics committee in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) approved the use of five investigational therapeutics to treat Ebola, under the framework of compassionate use/expanded access. The current outbreak is caused by the Zaire ebolavirus, one of five separate subtypes and the one with the highest mortality rate, ranging from 60% to 90%, according to WHO. In summary, there has been very strong progress in outbreak response, " Salama said.
This is Congo's ninth Ebola outbreak since 1976, when the hemorrhagic fever was first identified. This figure includes 673 people in Mbandaka, 398 in Bikoro, 725 in Iboko, and 30 in Ingende, also located in the Equateur province.
Phase 2 of the vaccination campaign will turn the focus of the response to rural and isolated communities, "some of the most remote territories on earth" and home to "indigenous" and "marginalized" populations, he said.
An AP report Friday quoted DRC's health ministry saying another Ebola case had been confirmed even as the pace of new cases slows down.
He warned, however, that experts are not in a position to document all chains of transmission of the virus, so "there may still yet be unknown chains out there and there may still be surprises in this outbreak". That has complicated efforts to track contacts of those infected.
The area had no infrastructure and could be covered only by motorbike, with several hours needed to trace every contact, he said.
"The outbreak is ongoing, particularly in and around Iboko", he said.
But the Congolese health ministry said on Wednesday that "no experimental treatment has yet been given to hospitalised patients". "We've learned the hard way in the past to never underestimate Ebola".