The Ebola virus was the big bad monster in 2014 as it spread across geographical zones with impunity. The sad news is that Ebola is back and Twenty-three people have died and 42 others have been infected in the latest Ebola virus outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The virus has also been discovered in Mbandaka, a busy river port and home to more than one million people, which increases the risk of Ebola moving into other countries.
This new Ebola outbreak is the first since 2014’s outbreak in West Africa that killed more than 11,000 people and spread to the United States of America.
It is however not all doom and gloom as this outbreak is still in its infancy, especially when compared to the 2014 outbreak in West Africa, which spread to seven additional countries, including Italy, the U.K., and the U.S., infecting more than 28,000 people, and killing more than 11,000, according to the CDC.
Still, the current outbreak is one that requires caution and attention for a number of reasons. Here are the things you need to know about the new outbreak and latest threat.
In What Country Is Ebola At The Moment?
The new outbreak started in remote, rural parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo in April, according to the World Health Organization. Since then, there have been three confirmed cases and more than 40 probable or suspected cases, and 23 people have died.
The worrisome part however is that the first case of “urban” Ebola was reported in the port city of Mbandaka, the provincial capital and home to more than one million people. The arrival of Ebola in Mbandaka marks this outbreak’s first case in a major city, which makes the disease harder to contain, increasing the risk of Ebola moving into neighbouring countries.
As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention points out, Ebola, or Ebola haemorrhagic fever, is spread either by direct contact with an infected animal (bats and primates) or someone who is sick or has died from the virus.
After infection, symptoms begin to show anywhere from two to 21 days (humans aren’t infectious until after they develop symptoms). Symptoms appear flu-like at first—fever, fatigue, muscle pain, headache, and sore throat—and are eventually followed by vomiting, diarrhoea, rash, and even internal and external bleeding, according to WHO.
While supportive care (like oral or intravenous fluids or treatment of specific symptoms) can improve survival rates, there’s no known treatment for this viral infection. In a report from WHO earlier this week, the disease claims the lives of about half of those it infects, so it’s extremely deadly.
Should I Be Worried, Even Though I Live Far Away From The Region?
At the moment, there is no need to be worried if you love in other regions of the world. While the Ebola virus is a disease that is very frightening, it’s not an airborne disease, and it doesn’t spread rapidly. Rather it requires exposure to fluids from people who are already infected.
So far, the world health organisation (WHO) has said that the risk of Ebola spreading internationally is low, though that could change tomorrow when they release a new statement and decide whether or not to declare it an international emergency.
In fact, the WHO has shipped 4,000 doses of a newly developed Ebola vaccine to infected areas, in an attempt to “encircle the ourbreak. What this means is that as of now, there isn’t any need to take any special precautions to protect yourself against the spread of this disease.
A new Ebola outbreak is especially scary, but, because the outbreak is still small and world health leaders are moving fast to keep this one contained, there’s no need to worry as of right now.