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Ebola Outbreaks in Congo

Congo has contained several past Ebola outbreaks but the spread of the hemorrhagic fever to an urban area poses a major challenge. The city of Mbandaka, which has one confirmed Ebola case, is an hour's flight from the capital, Kinshasa, and is located on the Congo River, a busy travel corridor.

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Congo has contained several past Ebola outbreaks but the spread of the hemorrhagic fever to an urban area poses a major challenge.
Ebola virus outbreaks again. Pixabay.
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Congo’s latest Ebola outbreak does not yet warrant being declared a global health emergency, the World Health Organization announced Friday, as health officials rushed to contain the often deadly virus (Ebola) that has spread to a city of more than 1 million.

The vast, impoverished country now has 14 confirmed Ebola cases, with dozens of others probable or suspected.

WHO officials, speaking after an experts’ meeting on the outbreak, said vaccinations could begin as early as Sunday in a key test of an experimental vaccine.

The health agency called the risk to the public in Congo “very high” and the regional risk high, with the global risk low. The Republic of Congo and Central African Republic are nearby and are among nine neighboring countries alerted. WHO said there should be no international travel or trade restrictions.

Dr. Robert Steffen, who chaired the expert meeting, said there was “strong reason to believe this situation can be brought under control.”

He noted the almost immediate response by WHO and partners after Ebola was announced in Congo last week. Without a vigorous response, “the situation is likely to deteriorate significantly,” he added. If the outbreak spreads internationally, the expert committee would reconvene to reconsider its assessment of the epidemic.

Congo has contained several past Ebola outbreaks but the spread of the hemorrhagic fever to an urban area poses a major challenge. The city of Mbandaka, which has one confirmed Ebola case, is an hour’s flight from the capital, Kinshasa, and is located on the Congo River, a busy travel corridor.

For a health crisis to constitute a global health emergency it must meet th

Until now, the outbreak had been confined to remote rural areas, where Ebola, which is spread via contact with bodily fluids of those infected, travels more slowly.
Ebola Virus. Wikimedia.

ree criteria stipulated by WHO: It must threaten other countries via the international spread of disease, it must be a “serious, unusual or unexpected” situation, and it may require immediate international action for containment.

‘Major, major game-changer’

Ebola has twice made it to Congo’s capital in the past and was rapidly stopped. Congo has had the most Ebola outbreaks of any country, and Dr. David Heymann, a former WHO director who has led numerous responses to Ebola, said authorities there have considerable expertise in halting the lethal virus.

To read more on the same topic: How Chikungunya Virus Causes Arthritis Pain Decoded

The Ebola vaccine proved highly effective in the West Africa outbreak a few years ago, although the vaccine was used long after the epidemic had peaked. More than 4,000 doses have arrived in Congo this week, with more on the way, and vaccinations are expected to start next week. One challenge will be keeping the vaccine cold in a region with poor infrastructure and patchy electricity.

Just one Ebola death in the current outbreak has been confirmed so far. Congo’s health ministry late Thursday said the total number of cases is 45, including 10 suspected and 21 probable ones.

The health ministry said two new deaths have been tied to the cases, including one in a suburb of Mbandaka. The other was in Bikoro, the rural area where the outbreak was announced last week. It is about 150 kilometers (93 miles) from Mbandaka.

“This is a major, major game-changer in the outbreak,” Dr. Peter Salama, WHO’s emergency response chief, warned Thursday after the first urban case was announced. “Urban Ebola can result in an exponential increase in cases in a way that rural Ebola struggles to do.”

Until now, the outbreak had been confined to remote rural areas, where Ebola, which is spread via contact with bodily fluids of those infected, travels more slowly.

Health teams

Doctors Without Borders said 514 people believed to have been in contact with infected people were being monitored. WHO said it was deploying about 30 more experts to Mbandaka.

Read more: Study Shows That Antibacterial in Toothpaste May Combat Severe Lung Diseases

Amid fears of the outbreak spreading to neighboring countries, the U.N. migration agency said Friday it would support the deployment of Congolese health teams to 16 entry points along the nearby border with the Republic of Congo for infection control and prevention.

The U.N. children’s agency said it was mobilizing hundreds of community workers to raise awareness on protection against the disease.

This is the ninth Ebola outbreak in Congo since 1976, when the disease was first identified. The virus is initially transmitted to people from wild animals, including bats and monkeys.

There is no specific treatment for Ebola. Symptoms include fever, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle pain and at times internal and external bleeding. The virus can be fatal in up to 90 percent of cases, depending on the strain. VOA.

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ADHD May Be Improved With Support And Self Regulation: Study

While research shows that medication is effective, it does not work for all children, and is not acceptable to some families.

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How school support may help ADHD children Pixabay

One-to-one support and a focus on self-regulation may improve academic outcomes of children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), a new study suggests.

ADHD refers to a chronic condition including attention difficulty, hyperactivity and impulsiveness.

“Children with ADHD are of course all unique. It’s a complex issue and there is no one-size-fits-all approach,” said Tamsin Ford, Professor from the the University of Exeter in the UK.

child, ADHD
The results indicate that children with ADHD who received canine assisted intervention (CAI) experienced a reduction in inattention and an improvement in social skills. Pixabay

“However, our research gives the strongest evidence to date that non-drug interventions in schools can support children to meet their potential in terms of academic and other outcomes,” said Ford.

For the study, published in the journal Review of Education, the team found 28 randomised control trials on non-drug measures to support children with ADHD in schools.

They found that important aspects of successful interventions for improving the academic outcomes of children are when they focus on self-regulation and are delivered in one-to-one sessions.

According to the study, self-regulation is hard for children who are very impulsive and struggle to focus attention.

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The children were set daily targets which were reviewed via a card that the child carried between home and school and between lessons in school and rewards were given for meeting targets. VOA

In addition, the children were set daily targets which were reviewed via a card that the child carried between home and school and between lessons in school and rewards were given for meeting targets.

Also Read: Lack Of Proper Sleep May Lead To Impairment Of Mental Skills: Study

While research shows that medication is effective, it does not work for all children, and is not acceptable to some families.

“More and better quality research is needed but in the mean-time, schools should try daily report cards and to increase children’s ability to regulate their emotions. These approaches may work best for children with ADHD by one-to-one delivery,” Ford noted. (IANS)