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New Ebola outbreak declared in Democratic Republic of the Congo

BMJ 2018; 361 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.k2074 (Published 10 May 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;361:k2074

9th Ebola outbreak in DR Congo: WHO is set ready to deal with the emergency.

Since 1976, Ebola has claimed thousands of human lives across the world. However, among all the reported and recorded epidemics/endemics/pandemics, the 2014-2016 outbreaks were the deadliest in history: it cost more than 11, 000 lives within three countries of western Africa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR) Congo, Sierra Leone and Liberia (1).

Now DR Congo is in the grip of new (ninth of its kind) Ebola outbreak and the epicenter is confounded around iIkoko Iponge health facility (situated 30 km to Bikoro, in Equateur Province, of north-west DR Congo). During last five-six-week time period 21 cases (including 17 deaths) have been reported, of which two have been found positive among five tested at Institut National de Recherche Biomédicale (Kinshasa, DRC) (2).

It will take a while to emerge as global health emergency if current Ebola outbreak is not set limited to its endemic epicenter. Fast, effective and coordinated actions can quash this outbreak very soon. Ebola hemorrhagic fever (with 50-90% mortality rates) is highly contagious, human-to-human or animals (chimpanzees/forest antelope/ porcupine)-to-human transmission can occur through all sorts of infected bodily fluids, therefore, case-specific, safe and effective containment strategies (incident management system) are wanted on an emergency basis (3,4). The replication competent rVSV-ZEBOV vaccine which has been proven effective during earlier outbreaks can be deployed again (5). Above all the neighboring countries, specifically, Sierra Leone and Liberia, should be set on high alert to deal with the unforeseen scenario. I do expect that current outbreak will be curtailed soon.

References

(1) 2014 Ebola Outbreak in West Africa - Case Counts. https://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/outbreaks/2014-west-africa/case-counts.html (Accessed on May 10, 2018).

(2) Rimmer A. New Ebola outbreak declared in Democratic Republic of the Congo BMJ 2018;361:k2074 (https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.k2074).

(3) Case management, infection prevention and control. http://www.who.int/csr/resources/publications/ebola/case-management/en/ (Accessed on 10 May 2018).

(4) New Ebola outbreak declared in Democratic Republic of the Congo. http://www.who.int/news-room/detail/08-05-2018-new-ebola-outbreak-declar.... (Accessed on 10 May 2018).

(5) Henao-Restrepo AM, Camacho A, Longini IM, Watson CH, Edmunds WJ, Egger M, Carroll MW, Dean NE, Diatta I, Doumbia M, Draguez B, Duraffour S, Enwere G, Grais R, Gunther S, Gsell P, Hossmann S, Watle SV, Kondé MD. Efficacy and effectiveness of an rVSV-vectored vaccine in preventing Ebola virus disease: final results from the Guinea ring vaccination, open-label, cluster-randomised trial (Ebola Ça Suffit!). THE LANCET 2017; 389:505-518. (https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(16)32621-6).

Competing interests: No competing interests

10 May 2018
RANJEET MAHLA
Ph. D. Student
Department of Biological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science and Research (IISER)
Bhopal-bypass-Rd, Bhauri, Bhopal, Madhya-Pradesh, India, 462066.