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Video- Congo Gets New Medical Tools To Contain Ebola

The outbreak is near Rwanda and Uganda, and people travel back and forth between the countries to sell and trade goods, so they could also spread Ebola.

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Congo, Uganda, 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

The Democratic Republic of Congo has yet another Ebola outbreak, its 10th since the virus was first identified in 1976. This latest outbreak started in early August in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the fatality rate is 70 percent.

But this outbreak is far different from the one that devastated West Africa a few years ago.

Experimental treatments

Dr. Anthony Fauci at the National Institutes of Health points to experimental treatments for those who have Ebola, one thing that didn’t exist during the outbreak in West Africa.

“We have five therapeutics that are available, three of which were being used actively,” he said.

Cells in our blood, called B cells, fight off infections. Two of the experimental treatments involved copies of antibodies of the B cells that could fight off the Ebola virus.

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Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during an interview in his office at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. VOA

“A person was infected in the 1995 Kikwit outbreak in the DRC,” Fauci said. “The person recovered from Ebola, and we brought the person here to the United States at the NIH. We drew their blood. We cloned B cells and then we made the antibody.”

The treatment is called monoclonal antibody 114. Fauci says it’s being given to Ebola patients in the DRC.

“So far it’s been given to at least 13 people, and 11 of them have been discharged from the hospital,” he said, “which is pretty good odds.”

Many more people need to receive this treatment — and the two others — before we know if any of them actually work.

“We’re proposing a trial to compare one treatment to another treatment to another treatment,” Fauci said.

Another tool that doctors have this time is a vaccine that protects people from getting Ebola. The vaccine wasn’t available during the height of the outbreak in West Africa.

Frustrating factors

But, there are other factors in this outbreak that frustrate the efforts to control the Ebola virus:

The outbreak is in a conflict zone, so health workers can’t get to everyone who needs treatment or a vaccine.

A few people in the city of Butembo, with a population of more than 1 million, have contracted the Ebola virus.

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

The outbreak is near Rwanda and Uganda, and people travel back and forth between the countries to sell and trade goods, so they could also spread Ebola.

Despite medical advances, cases keep rising, although not as fast as they did in West Africa. Still, this has Fauci and others very concerned. (VOA)

Next Story

Know How Higher Intake of Sodium Can Treat Lightheadedness

Greater sodium intake is widely viewed as an intervention for preventing lightheadedness when moving from seated to standing positions.

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"Health practitioners initiating sodium interventions for orthostatic symptoms now have some evidence that sodium might actually worsen symptoms," Juraschek said. Pixabay

Higher sodium intake should not be used as a treatment for lightheadedness, say researchers challenging current guidelines for sodium consumption.

Lightheadedness while standing, known as postural lightheadedness, results from gravitational drop in blood pressure and is common among adults.

Greater sodium intake is widely viewed as an intervention for preventing lightheadedness when moving from seated to standing positions.

However, contrary to this recommendation, researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre (BIDMC) found that higher sodium intake, actually increases dizziness.

“Our study has clinical and research implications,” said Stephen Juraschek, researcher from BIDMC in Boston.

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Greater sodium intake is widely viewed as an intervention for preventing lightheadedness when moving from seated to standing positions. Pixabay

“Our results serve to caution health practitioners against recommending increased sodium intake as a universal treatment for lightheadedness. Additionally, our results demonstrate the need for additional research to understand the role of sodium, and more broadly of diet, on lightheadedness,” Juraschek said.

For the study, reported in The Journal of Clinical Hypertension, the team used data from the completed DASH-Sodium trial, a randomised crossover study that looked at the effects of three different sodium levels (1500, 2300, and 3300 mg/d) on participants’ blood pressure for four weeks.

While the trial showed that lower sodium led to decrease in blood pressure, it also suggested that concerns about lower level of sodium causing dizziness may not be scientifically correct.

Also Read: ‘It Has Been A Very Long Process, But Ultimately A Very Successful Process’: South Korea Agrees to Pay More for U.S. Troops

The study also questioned recommendations to use sodium to treat lightheadedness, an intervention that could have negative effects on cardiovascular health.

“Health practitioners initiating sodium interventions for orthostatic symptoms now have some evidence that sodium might actually worsen symptoms,” Juraschek said.

“Clinicians should check on symptoms after initiation and even question the utility of this approach. More importantly, research is needed to understand the effects of sodium on physical function, particularly in older adults.” (IANS)