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Ebola Has Reached To a Very Serious Situation In Congo: WHO

The WHO has warned the virus could spread to nearby countries, such as Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi.

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A Congolese health worker administers Ebola vaccine to a boy who had contact with an Ebola sufferer in the village of Mangina in North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. VOA

Violence in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo is hampering efforts to contain an Ebola outbreak that has already killed more than 150 people, according to the World Health Organization.

“It’s a very serious situation. This is something that we have been fearing from the beginning; that the security situation will influence the response to the level that we cannot really function fully,” says a WHO spokesman, Tarik Jasarevic.

The outbreak in Congo’s North Kivu province is in a conflict zone where dozens of armed groups operate. Aid agencies have been forced to suspend or slow down their work on several occasions since the outbreak began in July.

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In this photo taken Sept 9, 2018, a health worker sprays disinfectant on his colleague after working at an Ebola treatment center in Beni, DRC. VOA

Health workers killed

It happened again over the weekend, when two health agents with Congo’s military were killed by rebels. The next day, residents in the city of Beni pelted aid groups’ vehicles with stones during a protest against a separate rebel attack that killed at least 13 people.

Jasarevic tells VOA’s English-to-Africa service that the incidents have forced Ebola containment teams to severely curtail their operations. The result?

“Contacts will not be followed; this is something that has to be done on a daily basis. People who may develop the disease will not go immediately to treatment centers and will present danger to their environment,” he says.

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Congolese health workers register people and take their temperatures before they are vaccinated against Ebola in the village of Mangina in North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of Congo. VOA

Containment delayed

That means health workers will have to essentially start over to locate contacts of Ebola victims and ensure they are vaccinated.

“In case we are not able to access communities, if in case response measures are not being put in place safe burials, contact tracing, vaccinations, provision of treatment to those who are sick — it is really difficult to hope that the Ebola outbreak can be contained on its own,” Jasarevic says.

Latest numbers

According to the WHO’s most recent report, released Tuesday, a total of 238 confirmed and probable Ebola Virus Disease cases have been reported in Congo’s North Kivu and Ituri provinces. It said 155 people have died.

Ebola Congo, WHO
A Congolese health worker checks the temperature of a man before the launch of vaccination campaign against the deadly Ebola virus near Mangina village, near the town of Beni in North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of Congo. VOA

The WHO has warned the virus could spread to nearby countries, such as Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi.

Also Read: The World Is Three Countries Away From Being Polio-Free: WHO

“Neighboring countries need to be ready in case the outbreak spreads beyond the Democratic Republic of the Congo,” said the latest WHO report. (VOA)

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Physicians Happy While Traders in Shock on Ban on E-Cigarettes in India

With the Union Cabinet directing a blanket ban on e-cigarettes in the country, physicians welcomed the step while e-cigarette traders expressed shock and anger

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A man exhales while smoking an e-cigarette, Aug. 28, 2019. VOA

With the Union Cabinet directing a blanket ban on e-cigarettes in the country with complete suspension of their manufacturing, import, export, distribution and storage, physicians welcomed the step while e-cigarette traders expressed shock and anger over the decision.

“Although, e-cigarettes are little less lethal then the conventional cigarettes, we cannot shun away the fact that it contains harmful ingredients. These chemicals can potentially affect the lungs and overall health of the individual in the long run,” Rajesh Chawla, Senior Pulmonologist at Indraprastha Apollo Hospital in New Delhi, told IANS.

Industry body TRENDS which represents importers, distributors and marketers of ENDS, or Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems in India, termed the decision to ban e-cigarettes “ironic and erratic”.

“This ban on e-cigarettes on the basis of ‘selective sourcing of scientific and medical opinion’ and without holding a single stakeholder meeting is nothing short of a complete murder of democratic norms,” said Praveen Rikhy, Convenor, TRENDS (Trade Representatives of ENDS).

“All our representations sharing best practices from other countries – 70 developed countries have allowed regulated sale of e-cigarettes, have been completely ignored. We will now initiate a formal campaign to help MPs understand the issue, clarify misapprehensions and misinformation spread by lobby groups and support the farmer groups who see the growth of the e-cigarette sector as a global market opportunity for nicotine,” Rikhy said.

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The Donald Trump administration on September 12 said that it plans to ban the sale of non-tobacco-flavoured e-cigarettes in the US following six deaths. Pixabay

While e-cigarettes have been marketed as a way for adults to quit conventional smoking, a recent outbreak of lung illness associated with use of vaping products in the US has raised concerns about the safety of these products.

The Donald Trump administration on September 12 said that it plans to ban the sale of non-tobacco-flavoured e-cigarettes in the US following six deaths linked to vaping.

Health authorities have documented a total of 450 cases involving e-cigarettes, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which issued a health warning against vaping.

ALSO READ: Girls Who Sleep Late At Night Are More Likely To Gain Weight

“I entirely support the idea of a ban on e-cigarettes; it is a step in the right direction,” Manoj Luthra, CEO, Jaypee Hospital in Noida, told IANS.

“E-cigarettes have been projected as a means to help people to quit smoking tobacco and also being non-polluting. However, these have their own health hazards and are addictive as well. These contain nicotine and other chemical vapours which will certainly have ill effects on the heart and lung and other organs as well,” he said. (IANS)