WHO: First Situation Report, On 2017 DRC Ebola Outbreak

To be sure, I do hate leaving — for a joyously boisterous long weekend, on a relatively ominous global public health news note — but sometimes. . . . that is just the way it is — and the way it has to be.

So — the first official and comprehensive tallies are up, at WHO: additional cases have been reported — very near the same province that was likely the index location, of the long ago original outbreak of Ebola (or at least the first documented one), back in 1976.

Importantly, no inter-country African travel restrictions are recommended by WHO. That fact should be repeated widely by the MSM. From the full report, then — a few snippets:

. . . .Following this cluster of illness and deaths, the health team carried out outbreak investigation and collected five blood samples that were transported to a laboratory, the Institut National de Recherche Biomédicale (INRB), in Kinshasa. Laboratory results released on 11 May 2017 showed that two of the five samples tested positive for Ebola virus of the Zaire sub-type using a technique call polymerase chain reaction (PCR).

As of 15 May 2017, a total of 19 patients suspected to have Ebola including 3 deaths (death rate of 15.8%) have been reported. The cases reported are from three areas, namely Nambwa (10 cases and 2 deaths), Mouma (3 cases and 1 death) and Ngay (6 cases and no death). A total of 125 close contacts have been identified and are being followed up on a daily basis. . . .

Likati health zone shares borders with two provinces in DRC and with the Central African Republic. The affected areas are remote and hard-to-reach with limited communication and transport networks. . . .

• At this stage, the overall risk is high at national level due to the known impact of Ebola outbreaks, remoteness of the affected area, limited access to health care and suboptimal surveillance.

• Risk at regional level is moderate due to the proximity with international borders and the recent influx of refugees from Central African Republic.

• The risk is low at global level. . . .

Depending on the evolution of the situation, the risk will be reassessed at the three levels. . . .

WHO advises against the application of any travel or trade restrictions on the Democratic Republic of Congo based on the current information available on this Ebola outbreak. WHO continues to monitor reports of measures implemented at points of entry. . . .

Still only a one word passing mention — in a list — of some future vaccinations (on page 4); no concrete plan to vaccinate a ring around these 125 contacts — to reach perhaps 1,000 to 3,000 potential future contacts, of contacts.

That is both troubling, and disappointing — even allowing for the fact that the affected areas lie a fully-mountainous, forested 220 miles (350 kilometers) away — on a terribly pock-marked (Jeeps only) dirt road — just a path, really — from any city of note.

We may well need a US airlift — and drop-in — operation. That’s my $0.02 — and sleep will certainly find me this evening, now. . . with a twinkling, green-eyed… g’night!

नमस्ते

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