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Wednesday, June 16, 2021

New epidemic: Ebola scares the world again

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In Africa, a new Ebola outbreak – Guinea has already announced the beginning of an epidemic, the infected were also identified in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Not a single coronavirus case. Ebola, a much more dangerous virus, is again raging in Africa. The average fatality rate is about 50%. In previous outbreaks, fatality rates ranged from 25% to 90%.

What is the danger now?

New flash

Guinea declared an emergency over the Ebola outbreak on February 14. Seven confirmed cases of infection are already known, three patients already dead.

The Ministry of Health of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) announced the outbreak a week before news from Guinea, on February 7, 2021. As of February 15, four cases and one death were reported.

The last outbreak of Ebola haemorrhagic fever in the DRC occurred in the second half of 2020 in the northwest of the country – the authorities announced a victory over it just a few months ago, in November last year.

WHO representatives in both countries have assured that the organization will devote maximum efforts and attention in trying to overcome the new outbreak of the epidemic as soon as possible. In affected areas of Guinea and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, WHO hopes to deliver a batch of vaccines that can help fight the Ebola virus in the near future.

How it was in the past

Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia were the epicenter of the worst Ebola outbreak in 2014-2015, with more than 11,000 deaths.

Cases have also been reported in Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Spain, Great Britain, Italy and the United States.

On August 8, 2014, WHO recognized the outbreak of Ebola as an emergency of international concern.

In 2018-2020, outbreaks of the epidemic took place intermittently in the DR Congo (3.4 thousand cases and 2.3 thousand deaths).

Symptoms

With Ebola, there is a sharp rise in temperature, severe weakness, muscle pain, headache, and sore throat. As the disease progresses, vomiting and diarrhea, rash, impaired kidney and liver function, and, in some cases, both internal and external bleeding appear. Often the development of bleeding indicates a poor prognosis.

The incubation period ranges from 2 to 21 days.

Treatment

Effective outbreak control is based on a mix of interventions such as case management, infection prevention and control, surveillance and contact tracing, effective laboratory services, safe burial and community mobilization.

Early supportive therapy with rehydration and symptomatic treatment contributes to an increase in patient survival.

Licensed treatments with proven ability to neutralize the virus do not yet exist, but a number of blood-based therapies, as well as immunological and drug therapies, are under development.

The rVSV-ZEBOV preparation from the American company Merck Inc. showed a high prophylactic effect.

Since September 2014, clinical trials of this vaccine have been conducted in 15 countries in Africa, Europe and America. More than 11 thousand people took part in the 2015 trial in Guinea, and it was carried out, including under the leadership of WHO, together with other international organizations and partners.

In November 2019, the vaccine received a permanent approval for use in the European Union. In February 2020, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, Ghana and Zambia received the licenses for its use, and in March 2020, it was registered in the United States. 

Currently, the rVSV-EBOV vaccine is used for ring vaccination, where all those who have had contact with people with the laboratory-confirmed infection are vaccinated against Ebola.

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