WHO: 9 more Ebola cases in DRC, 29 total

The Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) grew by nine more cases, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) African region's situation report posted today.

There are now 29 total cases, with 2 cases confirmed, 2 probable, and 25 suspected. With the three deaths from the deadly virus previously reported, the case-fatality rate is now 10%.

The nine new cases were identified in Ngayi and Azande, both located in the Likati health district. In contrast to previously published maps, Azande is now placed in northern DRC, away from the border with South Sudan.

No health workers have been infected so far, according to the report, and most patients have presented with fever, vomiting, and bloody diarrhea. The WHO said scientists are now following 416 contacts, up from yesterday's 400.

Two mobile labs set up

The report noted that two mobile labs have now been set up in Likati, and 30 biological samples collected in Likati health zone will be tested in these labs today and tomorrow. One of the labs will also test 13 samples collected from suspected Ebola cases in Banalia.

Though the WHO said the global risk posed by this outbreak is still low, seven countries have now begun screening at airports and ports of entry (Kenya,  Nigeria,  Rwanda,  South  Africa,  Tanzania,  Zambia, and  Zimbabwe). 

HHS director in Liberia

In other news, US Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price, MD, traveled to Liberia today to address global health security concerns. It was the first stop on a three-nation tour. Liberia was the nation hardest hit during the 2014-2016 West African Ebola outbreak.

Price toured an Ebola treatment center and laid a wreath on the grave of an unknown Ebola victim.

According to an HHS press release, "Ebola survivors who met with the Secretary described the significant stigma associated with the virus and the continuing discrimination they face. Secretary Price shook hands with survivors, an important public gesture."

See also:

May 18 WHO situation report

May 19 HHSpress release

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