Published: Wed, July 24, 2019
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

DRC Ebola total grows by 5, with outbreak info in flux

DRC Ebola total grows by 5, with outbreak info in flux

In his resignation letter, the minister criticised pressure by unnamed "actors" to deploy the second vaccine, manufactured by Johnson & Johnson and backed by the WHO.

"As in any war, because that is what this is, there can not be several centres of decision-making for risk of creating confusion", he said.

Following this, the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment here said it continues to work closely with its regional and global partners, including the Caribbean Public Health Agency and the Pan American Health Organization, to monitor the situation and to maintain the health and wellness of the people of St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG).

The newest outbreak - the second-largest ever - began in August 2018 and is affecting two provinces in DR Congo, North Kivu, and Ituri. Ebola in the DRC has killed over 1650 people among 2,484 confirmed cases.

Meanwhile, in Barbados, the Ministry of Health and Wellness said it is reviewing and updating its Ebola Plan to ensure that authorities are able to respond effectively, if the need arises.

The status now given to EVD recognises that it constitutes a public health risk to other countries and therefore potentially requires a coordinated worldwide response.

It spreads to people through direct contact with bodily fluids of a person who is sick with or has died from the disease.

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Ilunga has been in charge of the DRC's year-long response to what is the second deadliest Ebola outbreak in history with a fatality rate of about 66 percent.

Though the disease has yet to spread beyond the DRC, its risk of doing so is high, especially as cases have begun to crop up in Goma, near the border with Rwanda. Tamfum was part of the team that investigated the first known Ebola outbreak in 1976.

An Ebola epidemic devastated components of West Africa from 2014 to 2016 and killed more than 11,000 individuals.

Based on the magnitude of the outbreak, World Health Organization in collaboration with other development partners working on curtailing the outbreak has been pushing for vaccination as a means of controlling the spread of the disease.

The response to the most recent outbreak has been complicated by sporadic assaults on well-being staff, and conspiracy theories concerning the current vaccine.

Meanwhile, the department is pushing for Taiwan's attendance at the meetings of many global organizations in the second half of this year, a process that includes communicating with the nation's diplomatic allies and like-minded countries, Chen said.

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