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OffbeatEbola cases surge in Congo, with women and children disproportionately sick

01:40  07 december  2018
01:40  07 december  2018 Source:   cnn.com

Ebola outbreak in east Congo now world's 2nd biggest

Ebola outbreak in east Congo now world's 2nd biggest The Ebola outbreak in eastern Congo is now the second biggest in history, with 426 confirmed and probable cases, the health ministry said late on Thursday. The epidemic in a volatile part of Democratic Republic of Congo is now only surpassed by the 2013-2016 outbreak in West Africa, where more than 28,000 cases where confirmed, and is bigger than an outbreak in 2000 in Uganda involving 425 cases. Ebola is believed to have killed 245 people in North Kivu and Ituri provinces where attacks by armed groups and community resistance to health officials have hampered the response.

sick are able to spread Ebola disease in saliva, and whole virus has not been reported to be transmitted through sweat. Bats were known to roost in the cotton factory in which the first cases of the 1976 and 1979 outbreaks were observed, and they have also been implicated in Marburg virus

More than 420 Ebola cases have been reported in eastern Congo . Experts are still studying why this epidemic effects mostly women and children , Cornale said. “So now we can only guess. And one of the guesses is that woman are the caretakers of sick people at home.

Ebola cases surge in Congo, with women and children disproportionately sick© JOHN WESSELS/AFP/AFP/Getty Images Health workers carry out the body of a patient with unconfirmed Ebola virus on August 22, 2018 in Mangina, near Beni, in the North Kivu province. - Sixty-one people have died in the latest outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the authorities said, adding that four novel drugs had been added to the roster of treatments. The outbreak began on August 1 in Mangina, the epicentre of the outbreak in the North Kivu province, and cases have been reported in neighbouring Ituri province. It is the 10th outbreak to strike the DRC since 1976, when Ebola was first identified and named after a river in the north of the country. (Photo by John WESSELS / AFP) (Photo credit should read JOHN WESSELS/AFP/Getty Images)

There have been 18 more cases of illness and five more deaths reported in just two days in the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo, according to the Ministry of Health. Since the outbreak began, the total number of probable cases is now 471, including 273 deaths, the ministry reported Thursday.

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Ebola virus is known to persist in immune-privileged sites in some people who have recovered from Ebola virus disease. These sites include the testicles, the inside of the eye, and the central nervous system. In women who have been infected while breastfeeding, the virus may persist in breast milk.

Ebola virus disease (commonly known as " Ebola ") was first described in 1976 in two simultaneous outbreaks in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and what is now in vast economic consequences in both the affected areas in West Africa and even in other African nations with no cases of Ebola .[47].

Public health authorities are investigating an additional 106 suspected cases, the ministry indicated.

Second-largest outbreak in history

This is the 10th outbreak since 1976 in Congo, where the virus is endemic, and the second this year. It is also now the second-deadliest Ebola outbreak in history, topped only by one in West Africa in 2014, when the disease killed more than 11,000 people.

On average, Ebola -- which causes fever, severe headache and in some cases hemorrhaging -- kills about half of those infected, but fatality rates in individual outbreaks have varied. The latest outbreak in Congo, which began in August, has a case fatality rate of 57%.

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All Ebola survivors and their sexual partners should receive counselling to ensure safe sexual practices until their semen has twice tested negative. An experimental Ebola vaccine proved highly protective against the deadly virus in a major trial in Guinea. The vaccine, called rVSV-ZEBOV, was studied in a

The number of suspected cases of Ebola has risen to 29 from nine in less than a week in an isolated part of Democratic Republic of Congo , where three people have died from the disease since April 22, the World Health Organization said on Thursday.

The ministry also reported that 149 people have recovered. However, 44 health workers have been infected with the virus, of whom 12 have died.

North Kivu province, which includes the cities of Beni, Kalunguta and Mabalako, remains the epicenter of the outbreak, though cases have been reported in neighboring Ituri province, according to the World Health Organization. The two provinces are among the most populated in the nation and border Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan.

Not only is North Kivu experiencing spread of deadly Ebola, but long-term conflict smolders there, with 50 armed groups causing intermittent violence, according to WHO.

Ebola cases surge in Congo, with women and children disproportionately sick© JOHN WESSELS/AFP/AFP/Getty Images Health workers embrace whilst putting on their personal protective equipment (PPE) before heading into the red zone at a newly build MSF (Doctors Without Borders) supported ebola treatment centre (ETC) on November 7, 2018 in Bunia, Democratic Republic of the Congo. - The death toll from an Ebola outbreak in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo has risen to more than 200, the health ministry said on November 10, 2018. (Photo by John WESSELS / AFP) (Photo credit should read JOHN WESSELS/AFP/Getty Images)

"Responding to the Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in north-eastern parts of the Democratic Republic of the Congo continues to be a multifaceted challenge," WHO said in a report Thursday.

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The highest number of cases among both children and adults occur in Africa and Southeast Asia, where food is more often prepared with unclean water or cannot be properly produced and Other diseases, like typhoid fever and foodborne cholera, disproportionately affect developing countries.

Nearly 20% of all EVD cases occurred in children under 15 years of age, and an estimated 30,000 children became orphans during this epidemic. As funding and logistics previously dedicated to child vaccination campaigns were redirected to Ebola response or postponed to avoid public gatherings

WHO estimates that more than a million refugees and internally displaced people are traveling through and out of North Kivu and Ituri, and this movement is a potential risk factor for the spread of Ebola. Another complication: a high number of malaria cases in the region.

Gender imbalance

Women and children are disproportionately sick in the Ebola outbreak, WHO reported Thursday. To date, females accounted for 62% of overall cases in which a patient's sex was recorded, while children younger than 15 accounted for 24% of cases.

The "multitude of factors" that probably contributes to those imbalanced numbers include greater involvement in traditional burial practices, transmission within family groups (including between mothers caring for sick family members) and the impact of ongoing conflict in affected areas, according to WHO.

"Of note, 46% of female cases (84 of 181) reported having attended funerals, in contrast to 31% of male cases (37 out of 118)," WHO noted. The health ministry is working with UNICEF and other partners to reduce the numbers of women and children infected.

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"So in this case , you prevent women from earning what they normally earn so they become poorer. It increases poverty among women and their families. … Tarnue added that such a program would include targeting women with messages about Ebola symptoms and prevention methods, helping

An epidemic of Ebola virus disease occurred in Liberia from 2014 to 2015, along with the neighbouring countries of Guinea and Sierra Leone. The first cases of virus were reported by late March 2014.

The ministry also reported that more than 41,000 people have been given an experimental vaccine since early August. The rVSV-ZEBOV vaccine, made by pharmaceutical company Merck, proved highly protective against the deadly virus in a major clinical trial conducted during an outbreak in Guinea, according to WHO.

Fresh guidance issued Thursday by the Pregnancy Research Ethics for Vaccines, Epidemics, and New Technologies Working Group, an international team of 17 experts, seeks to ensure that pregnant women are no longer excluded from receiving vaccines against emerging infectious diseases.

The public health preparedness report, which offers concrete steps for equitably addressing the needs of pregnant women, includes 22 total recommendations. One is that during an epidemic, such as the current one, the default setting should be to offer vaccines to pregnant women, not the reverse. Another suggestion is that decisions about whether to offer pregnant women vaccines should consider the risks faced by pregnant women and their babies if vaccine is denied and not just the potential risks of the vaccine.

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