It’s action stations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The unknown illness which has already led to 450 deaths since May in the province of Western Kasai has now been identified by the WHO - as Ebola hemorrhagic
fever. After several weeks of investigation by local teams from the provincial and national ministries of health, the National Institute of Biological Research (the INRB) and the WHO, the presence of the Ebola virus
was confirmed this morning.
This extremely contagious hemorrhagic disease, which first appeared in the country in 1976, is fatal in 50% to 90% of cases. According to the WHO, it is characterised by a sudden rise in temperature, extreme debility, cephalalgia (headache) and sore throat. This is followed by vomiting, diarrhoea, cutaneous eruptions, renal and liver failure and internal and
At present no treatment is available, although a number of candidate vaccines are being trialled. But this will no doubt still take several years, the WHO points out. The only effective measure is therefore to isolate the victims. WHO teams are already on site because this is a matter of emergency.
More than 1,200 people have already died from Ebola hemorrhagic fever since the virus was discovered in 1976 at Nzara in the Western Equatorial Province of Sudan and in Yambuku, a neighbouring region
in the north of the Democratic Republic of Congo.