WHO preparing for the worst in DR Congo Ebola outbreak. (AFP/ File Photo)
A total of 39 Ebola virus disease cases have been reported in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), including 19 deaths from April 4 through May 13, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday.
Three health care workers were also among 19 deaths, the WHO said in a statement.
The case fatality rate of the Ebola virus disease (EVD) is so far 49 percent, the WHO said.
The cases were reported from Bikoro, Iboko and Wangata, and 393 contacts have been identified so far and are being followed up, the WHO also said.
The WHO has deployed 50 public health experts to support the health ministry of the DRC with response activities.
EVD, formerly known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever, is a severe, often fatal illness in humans. The virus is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission.
The average EVD case fatality rate is around 50 percent. Case fatality rates have varied from 25 to 90 percent in past outbreaks.
The first EVD outbreaks occurred in remote villages in Central Africa, near tropical rainforests. The 2014–2016 outbreak in West Africa involved major urban areas as well as rural ones.
Ebola is introduced into the human population through close contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected animals, such as chimpanzees, gorillas, fruit bats, monkeys, forest antelope and porcupines found ill or dead in the rainforest.
Ebola then spreads through human-to-human transmission via direct contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected people, and with surfaces and materials contaminated with these fluids.
This is the DRC’s ninth Ebola outbreak since the discovery of the virus in the country in 1976.
Ebola caused global alarm in 2014 when the world’s worst outbreak began in West Africa, killing more than 11,300 people and infecting an estimated 28,600 as it swept through Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.
This article has been adapted from its original source.