Friday October 19, 2018

Ebola response is definitely getting better, eliminating possible in near future: WHO

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Geneva:  World Health Organisation (WHO) Assistant Director General Bruce Aylward said here on Tuesday that the “Ebola response is definitely getting better”, adding that though many challenges remain, eliminating the deadly disease is possible in the near future.

Photo Credit: www.cdc.gov This colorized transmission electron micrograph (TEM) revealed some of the ultrastructural morphology displayed by an Ebola virus virion. See PHIL 1832 for a black and white version of this image. Where is Ebola virus found in nature?The exact origin, locations, and natural habitat (known as the "natural reservoir") of Ebola virus remain unknown. However, on the basis of available evidence and the nature of similar viruses, researchers believe that the virus is zoonotic (animal-borne) and is normally maintained in an animal host that is native to the African continent. A similar host is probably associated with Ebola-Reston which was isolated from infected cynomolgous monkeys that were imported to the United States and Italy from the Philippines. The virus is not known to be native to other continents, such as North America.
Photo Credit: www.cdc.gov

With crucial improvements in care for contacts, case investigation, and contact tracing being observed, Aylward said that “there is a huge shift now from what was before a report on how many contacts were being seen daily to who are the missing contacts”.

According to Aylward, “this is a very different response to what you would have seen if you were on the ground a month ago”.

“We have gone over the last four weeks from 30 cases, to 25, to seven, and in the last week to two,” said Aylward, who iterated that this decline represents real progress in the fight against the disease which has killed over 11,000 people mainly in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea, according to Xinhua news agency.

Aylward added that each transmission chain is now being managed on a case by case basis, as “we’re able to treat each chain as an event and look at all the geographies associated with that event”.

This also means that each chain can be ranked by health officials according to the level of risk posed to populations, with experts estimating that there are currently some six transmission chains across the three West African countries.

Despite these trends, Aylward warned that “the biggest risk now is irrational exuberance, or unrealistic expectations”, as unsafe burials or missing contacts infecting new areas may still occur and create new infection points.

He also said that operational challenges linked to the region’s rainy season are hindering response efforts, while dwindling support and reduced financing is further compounding the situation.

(IANS)

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Ebola Not A Global Health Emergency: WHO

WHO advised DRC's nine neighboring countries that they were at high risk of having the disease spread into their territories

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An emergency committee convened by the World Health Organization has decided that the Ebola outbreak in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo does not constitute a public health emergency of international concern.

The WHO said Wednesday that 216 cases of Ebola and 139 deaths had been reported, and its International Health Regulations Emergency Committee said the outbreak was a matter of serious concern, especially since it is occurring in an area of conflict in eastern DRC. It said this posed problems for health workers who need to move around freely and track people who are infected with the virus and need treatment.

But the committee said that one reason it did not regard the outbreak as a global threat was that the virus had not spread into neighboring countries.

Congo,ebola
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

Committee Chairman Robert Steffan said the international response to the outbreak had been very good. He said WHO and other agencies had achieved quite a lot since the outbreak was declared Aug. 1. In fact, he said the disease was being brought under control in North Kivu province.

The disease is flaring up in another province, and the response is being concentrated in this area, he said, “so we do have some optimism that this outbreak, just like the one in May, will be brought under control within reasonable time.”

Steffan said the committee agreed that declaring an international emergency at this time would hinder efforts to contain the Ebola virus. He said a declaration would have implications for travel and trade, making it difficult for needed experts and supplies to access the affected areas.

Ebola, WHO
A health care worker from the World Health Organization, left, gives an Ebola vaccination to a front line aid worker who will then vaccinate people who might potentially have the virus, in Mbandaka, Congo. VOA

However, as a precaution, WHO recommended exit screenings, including at airports, ports and land crossings. But it noted that entry screenings, particularly in distant airports, would have no public health benefit and would be costly.

Also Read: North Kivu And Ituri, Congo To Welcome More Than 80,000 Children In This New School Year

WHO advised DRC’s nine neighboring countries that they were at high risk of having the disease spread into their territories, and it said it was supporting them with equipment and personnel. It said these preparedness activities were expensive and would require substantial financial support from the international community. (VOA)

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