The World Health Organization has declared an Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This was immediately after 66 reported cases and 49 deaths. It went on for three months.
However, the epidemic in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea has been in effect for nine months with higher than 15,000 cases and 5,000 deaths. There seems to be no end to this.
The Story of One Outbreak
- Experts state that experience is important. In former Zaire, this was the seventh outbreak. However, what is also important is that the origins of this was in a village which was very remote and the country’s healthcare workers work in a rudimentary system and therefore know how to detect Ebola.
- The latest outbreak began when an expectant woman was cooking game which her husband had come home with. This family resided in Ikanamongo, which is a village in Northwest of DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo).
- When this woman died from an illness which was not known, healthcare workers carried out a cesarean section to extract her fetus. This was the local tradition.
- A woman could not be buried while carrying a fetus, stated Ben Monroe, an epidemiologist from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He has worked in DRC and Liberia also.
- Each one of the health care workers who participated became ill. In the course of one week of this sad incident of the death of this woman on 11 August, 23 more cases came up and 13 of them died.
- This set off a lot of panic in the system. Monroe stated that a person in the health authority in that area realized what was happening. Monroe explained that the Congolese people had heard about Ebola for many years.
- They put in a reasonable amount of work into getting ready for such situations. Nearby, flows the Ebola River. Dr Peter Piot, who came across the Ebola virus in 1976, named the disease after the river.
- It was also beneficial that the CDC had been carrying out studies in the same forest on monkey pox from 2010. Monroe stated and they visit each year and train the heath care workers on how to control infection and monitor disease.
- A lot of public learning in this specific region is also conducted in addition to giving the health care workers training. Local health professionals were aware of how to recognize potential cases and put them in isolation.
- This does not assist the patients a lot, though as the rate of death remains very high, although it controls the spread of the virus. The region has heavy forestation and majority of the people reside near the rivers. Travel and trade is not much.
- The present boundaries spread to ancient kingdoms and people travel without restriction past the borders in motorcycles, trucks, on foot or by canoe. Plenty of informal trade is present and commerce as well.
- Civil war spanning many years has reduced infrastructure and there is little trust in the government, particularly in Liberia.