Two patients were confirmed with Ebola virus over the weekend by the World Health Organization (WHO), and both hailed from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). These two cases do not include three deaths and 17 other hemorrhagic fever cases reported recently in the country. Overall, the WHO is investigating 125 people who may have been subjected to Ebola-Zaire outbreak, as per the news report from Reuters.
Ebola virus remains predominant in Africa, with this being the seventh outbreak in DRC alone. The first instance was in 1976 while the most recent was in 2014, which claimed 49 causalities. The period of 2013 to 2016 had Ebola at its zenith in West Africa.
Less than a Month from the First Symptoms to Death
Out of the three cases for which the WHO has provided details on, one of the patient showed symptoms on April 22 and died inside a fortnight after arrival at a Likati health zone in Bas Uele province, which about two to three hour drive from DRC’s largest city. The man, first reported to be aged 45 and then updated for the age 39, experienced blood in his urine, nose-bleeding, bloody vomiting, and diarrhea. A companion of this patient is currently symptomatic, while the person who drove the two to the facility is now dead.
Lack of Clarity on the Use of Emergency Vaccine
Merck’s rVSV-ZEBOV has shown signs of protection against Ebola-Zaire and was approved for emergency use. Although nearly 300,000 doses of the vaccine are now available, it remains unclear whether the medication was used over these subjects. WHO Africa states that the complete extent of Ebola virus outbreak in 2017 is not yet known, and does not recommend any restriction on travelers from entering DRC.