The country’s rundown health system is simultaneously fighting measles and cholera epidemics, as well as the deadly coronavirus, which has so far caused 25 deaths. On Friday, a 28-year-old motorbike taxi driver who had tested positive for the haemorrhagic fever ran away from a clinic where he was receiving treatment in Beni, one of the recurring hotspots of the current epidemic, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said.
“We are using all the options to get him out of the community,” Boubacar Diallo, the deputy incident manager for the WHO’s response operation, said. “We are expecting secondary cases from him.”
He added: “We do not have any details yet. All have been working with the authorities, youths and civil society to find him. The search is ongoing.”
The deputy mayor of Beni Muhindo Bakwanamaha said local authorities had so far been unable to track down the sick patient, warning: “Since he is out of treatment he will die, and create lots of contacts around him”.
Small-scale outbreaks are not uncommon towards the end of an epidemic, but health care workers need to restrict the virus’ spread by rapidly tracking, quarantining and vaccinating the contacts of new cases.
Ebola causes fever, bleeding, vomiting and diarrhoea and spreads among humans through bodily fluids.
It is a severe, often fatal illness.
The Congo was just two days away from declaring the end of the world’s second-deadliest Ebola outbreak when a new chain of infection was found on April 10, following more than seven weeks without a new case.
Since then, health authorities have scrambled to contain any renewed spread of infections.
Last week, the WHO announced it was extending its global emergency designation of the outbreak after the new cases were confirmed.
“While there is a low risk of Ebola international spread, [we] consider this event to still constitute a public health emergency of international concern, requiring international coordination and support,” the WHO said in a Twitter post.
Decades of violent conflict and political instability have gnawed away at public trust in authorities in the Congo.
Despite Ebola having claimed more than 2,200 lives since August 2018, research shows that many communities are convinced that the disease is fake.
While two vaccines rolled out last year have played a major role in containing Ebola, attacks by armed rebels have prevented health workers from reaching some areas hit by the disease.
The Congo’s crumbling health system is currently battling measles and cholera epidemics, as well as the global coronavirus pandemic.
The country has so far recorded 327 coronavirus infections and 25 deaths.
The novel coronavirus, which is believed to have emerged from a wet market in central China late last year, has killed at least 162,000 people worldwide and infected more than 2 million, according to a tally compiled by AFP.
Source: Read Full Article