THE WORLD Health Organisation (WHO), has warned the Zimbabwean Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC) to exercise caution and vigilance following the resurfacing the deadly Ebola diseases in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
By Michael Gwarisa
In a latter directed to the Perm Sec Dr, Gerald Gwinji, WHO officer in charge, Dr Juliet Nabyonga said more than 19 cases had been reported in the Congo and if the country does not regulate movement at the boarder posts, the ailment could find its way into Zimbabwe.
“With reference to the above mentioned subject matter. WHO reports of an Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) alert in the DRC in ZS of Bikoro, DPS Equater between April 4 2018 and May 5. To date there has been 19 suspected cases, of the 19 suspected cases, 17 were epidemiologicaly linked, 16 deaths reported in one health institution of the ZS of Bikoro.
“Two out of five samples collected tested positive for EBOLA at reference national lab (INRB) in Kinshas.”
She added that three patients are currently being managed in the Ikoko Iponge health centre.
“In alignment of the above, WHO proposes to MoHCC the recommendations below: Activate the Ebola Preparedness and response plan for Zimbabwe. Maintain vigilance at ports of entry through surveillance and follow up visits from DRC particularly those coming from affected zones.
“Initiate vigilance and appropriate reporting from all health facilities of suspects especially those with suspicious symptoms and with a link to to the affected area in DRC. Initiate risk communication to reduce panic and reinforce on appropriate infection control and prevention both in the community at health care settings,” said Dr Nabyonge.
She added that WHO was in the process of providing both technical and operations support to WCO/DRC in responding to this outbreak.
In 1976, Ebola (named after the Ebola River in Zaire) first emerged in Sudan and Zaire. The first outbreak of Ebola (Ebola-Sudan) infected over 284 people, with a mortality rate of 53%. A few months later, the second Ebola virus emerged from Yambuku, Zaire, Ebola-Zaire (EBOZ).