A second case of Ebola in Democratic Republic of Congo was confirmed by the World Health Organization on Sunday, after an outbreak of 17 other suspected cases, with three people so far reported dead among the 19 suspected and confirmed cases.
How big is the outbreak?
The proactive move, instigated by the confirmation of two more suspected cases of the deadly disease which have claimed three lives in the Central African nation, is to check the disaster and make government alive to its responsibilities of ensuring good health for the citizenry. At least three people have died, as of Saturday, and eight additional people are reported to have Ebola.
It was not immediately clear how the first victim, a deceased male, caught the virus, although past outbreaks have been linked to contact with infected bush meat such as apes.
Hygienists wearing protective suits disinfect the toilets of the Ebola treatment centre in Lokolia, Democratic Republic of Congo, on October 5, 2014.
In Liberia, one of the countries that was devastated by the 2014 Ebola outbreak that terrified the world, there are only 1.4 doctors per 100,000 people (the United States has 255.4 per 100,000 people), so even if there were functioning roads and communication systems there may not be enough health care workers to help, making it hard to contain a disease outbreak. Humans can be infected by other humans if they come in contact with body fluids from an infected person or contaminated objects from infected persons. His death was soon followed by that of his driver and a healthcare worker.
What is the risk of it spreading?
Overall, the World Health Organization is investigating 125 people who may have been subjected to Ebola-Zaire outbreak, as per the news report from Reuters. The outbreak was declared in a small town, Aketi, that lies more than 800 miles from the densely populated capital Kinshasa and 81 miles from the provincial hub of Buta.
On 10 May 2017, a multidisciplinary team led by the Ministry of Health (MoH) and supported by WHO, under the new WHO Emergency Programme, and partners, was deployed to the Likati health zone, Bas Uele Province to conduct an in-depth field investigation.
Will it be as bad as the West African outbreak? That particular incident was unconnected with the massive epidemic in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone that left thousands affected. Ebola kills chimpanzees, which are eaten in the region, and whose populations could also suffer from this outbreak.