'Strong progress' in calming DRC Ebola outbreak

Congo confirms another Ebola case as outbreak hits 1-month mark

Congo confirms another Ebola case as outbreak hits 1-month mark

"Strong progress" has been made in calming Congo's deadly Ebola outbreak in a city of 1.2 million and in the rural outpost where the epidemic was declared one month ago, the World Health Organization said Friday, but now the focus turns to "some of the most remote territory on Earth".

Cases have occurred in the city of Mbandaka, a transport hub on the Congo River - a scenario that typically makes an outbreak of the infectious disease far more hard to contain.

The WHO, however, has noted that the Ebola outbreak does not now meet the conditions for a public health emergency of global concern, and that there should be no worldwide travel or trade restrictions.

Four of the five approved drugs are now in the country.

He said that the first phase - protecting urban centres and towns - "has gone well, and we can be cautiously optimistic".

Salama's optimism arises from the fact that there have been no new reports of illness in Mbandaka, the Equateur province capital, which boasts a population of 1.2 million.


"The latest case, confirmed on Thursday, was in the remote Iboko health zone in the northwest, an indication that the outbreak is ongoing, he said".

"It's extremely likely the vaccine has had a positive effect", said Salama, basing his assessment on the fact that in Mbandaka there have been no confirmed cases since mid-May and a large portion of contacts have been vaccinated there. It's the identification and follow-up of all people who may have come into contact with a person infected with the infectious disease.

"This is a major logistical and boots-on-the-ground epidemiological endeavor now", Salama said, adding that work there will go on for weeks.

He warned, however, that experts are not in a position to document all chains of transmission of the virus, so "there may still yet be unknown chains out there and there may still be surprises in this outbreak".

The Catholic Church in Congo said emergency measures will remain indefinitely in place in parishes at risk of Ebola, and urged effective action against the disease by the government of President Joseph Kabila.

On Monday, the Ministry of Health approved the use of these experimental treatments, some used on patients in past outbreaks, during the current outbreak.

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