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Republic of Congo/Ottawa, May 12 (Canadian-Media): After confirmation of laboratory of two cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in Bikoro in Equateur Province on May 8, the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo declared a new outbreak EVD, media reports said.
The Ebola virus reportedly causes a serious illness, often fatal if untreated; average EVD fatality rate is around 50 percent.
The virus is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission.
World Health Organization (WHO) -- established in 1948 and based in Geneva, is a specialized agency of the United Nations that is concerned with international public health -- was informed by the Ministry of Health of Democratic of the Congo (DRC) that two out of five samples collected from five patient tested positive for EVD at the Institut National de Recherche Biomédicale (INRB) in Kinshasa and more specimens are being collected for testing.
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When WHO learnt about the laboratory results, WHO set up its Incident Management System was set up within 24 hours of the outbreak being announced.
WHO deployed more than 50 experts to work closely with government and partners.and deployed epidemiologists, logisticians, clinicians, infection prevention and control experts, risk communications experts and vaccination support teams and to fully dedicate staff and resources across the organization to the response in the coming days.
The first multidisciplinary team comprised of experts from WHO, Médecins Sans Frontières and Provincial Division of Health travelled today to Bikoro -- situated in Equateur Province on the shores of Lake Tumba in the north-western part of the country near the Republic of the Congo -- to strengthen coordination and investigations.
An effective response to the 2017 EVD outbreak was achieved through the timely alert by local authorities of suspect cases, immediate testing of blood samples due to strengthened national laboratory capacity, and support of international partners, and speedy access to flexible funding.
WHO released US$ 1 million from its Contingency Fund for Emergencies to support response activities for the next three months with the goal of stopping the spread of Ebola to surrounding provinces and countries and also alerted neighbouring countries.
WHO will also reportedly be determining supply needs and help fill gaps, such as for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
“Our top priority is to get to Bikoro to work alongside the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and partners to reduce the loss of life and suffering related to this new Ebola virus disease outbreak,” said Dr Peter Salama, WHO Deputy Director-General, Emergency Preparedness and Response. “Working with partners and responding early and in a coordinated way will be vital to containing this deadly disease.”