KINSHASA A new epidemic of Ebola haemorrhagic fever strikes the Democratic Republic of Congo. The virus has killed at least three people since April 22, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
The WHO said in a statement Friday that the infection has re-emerged in a hard-to-reach area in the Bas-Uélé province near the Central African border.
Congo Health Minister Oly Ilunga Kalenga said nine possible Ebola infections were detected. He called on the population “not to panic”.
The Congo “has taken all the necessary steps to respond promptly and effectively to this new epidemic of the Ebola virus,” he added.
Ebola is a deadly haemorrhagic fever that affects humans and primates. The virus is easily transmitted from one person to another and has a mortality rate of 90%.
The infection reappeared in the Congo three years after the last epidemic. By 2014, the Ebola had caused 49 deaths. This epidemic was distinct from the one that struck West Africa from 2013 to 2015, the worst ever reported. The virus killed more than 11,000 people in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.
The first experts in the fight against Ebola are expected to arrive on Friday or Saturday in the affected region, a WHO official said, working closely with the Congolese authorities “to facilitate the deployment of protective equipment and Staff in the field to strengthen epidemiological surveillance and control the epidemic very quickly “.
The organization also said that an experimental vaccine could be used, reports CNN.
A vaccine and an Ebola treatment, designed in Canada, have proven their worth and are ready for use, said microbiologist Gary Kobinger , who contributed to the research.However, these drugs have not yet been approved.
“In the study that was done in West Africa in Guinea, after 10 days, 100% of the people who received the vaccine were protected, so nobody contracted the infection after 10 days, “He said.
These drugs are effective only for one of the three strains of the virus. Research by Gary Kobinger will help develop vaccines and treatments for other strains if they spread.
The epidemics are coming back, as we know very well.
“We do not even know which animals are involved in the circulation of the virus, and then what really makes the virus jump from animals to humans,” added Kobinger.
With information from Bouchra Ouatik