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Two cases of Ebola confirmed in new province of DRC

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TWO new Ebola virus cases have been confirmed at a new province of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), with one death on Friday.

The World Health Organisation that gave the update said the cases happened at South Kivu, in Lwindi district in the Mwenga region, an area close to the eastern border of Rwanda. A 24-year-old mother and her seven-year-old child were both infected.

It was reported that the woman travelled to an area – Beni- where the disease outbreak has been on high rate since it began last August.  Having travelled in July, she had been marked as a high-risk contact of the case. She had since been vaccinated.

She travelled by bus, boat and road with her two children to Mwenga, in South Kivu, where she died on Tuesday night, according to a slide from a presentation by health officials on Friday.

“These are the first cases in this province. As soon as the alert was raised last night, response teams were on the ground,” tweeted the WHO.

It stated that the team were ready to provide treatment for the boy, identify all contacts and start providing vaccination for community members.

The rescue teams attending to the first cases of Ebola virus diseases at South-Kivu on Thursday night. Photo credit: Twitter/WHO.

The WHO chief, Tedros Adhanom, also expressed his sadness over the confirmation of the two infected people.

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This has sparked a rapid response by the Congolese Ministry of Health and, WHO and other partners to provide treatment, identify all contacts, raise awareness and begin vaccinating,” he tweeted.

Ebola disease has kept spreading in Congo since the first case was detected in August 2018.

In July, the outbreak was declared a public health emergency of international concern after some cases were confirmed in Uganda, and also in Goma city of DRC.

As of August 14 with daily data provided until August 13,  2,748 cases of Ebola had been confirmed in Congo since last year August, with 94 probable cases.

It resulted in the deaths of 1,905 people.

Earlier this week, the WHO announced that two drugs have been found effective to be treating ebola virus disease. The two were out of the four medications that underwent randomised clinical trial developed in curing Ebola.

The two drugs, named REGN-EB3 and mAb114, work by attacking the Ebola virus with antibodies, neutralising its impact on human cells. The research showed that more than 90 per cent of infected people could survive if treated early with the drugs.

The latest cases show the difficulty of containing the Ebola outbreak, despite the deployment of “a highly effective vaccine”.

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