Health officials in the Democratic Republic of Congo have confirmed at least 85 fatalities from the ongoing outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in North Kivu and Ituri provinces as of Tuesday, September 4. According to the health ministry, 93 confirmed cases of the disease have been reported, in addition to 31 probable cases. The first death related to the disease was reported in Butembo. The most affected areas include Beni, Butembo, Oicha, Musienene, and Mabalako in North Kivu province, as well as in Mandima and Mambasa in Ituri province.
EVD is extremely virulent. The disease is transmitted to humans via direct contact with the blood, secretions, organs, or other bodily fluids of infected animals. The disease can then be transmitted between humans and is highly contagious, particularly during the hemorrhagic phase. Ebola is characterized by the sudden onset of high fever, weakness, joint and muscle pain, and headache. A sore throat is also a common early symptom. These symptoms are followed by nausea/vomiting, diarrhea, rashes, kidney and liver failure, and, in some cases, internal and external bleeding.
Travelers should avoid the area and monitor the situation. To prevent the spread of EVD:
- Avoid contact with infected individuals and any items that have been in their close proximity
- Avoid consuming bush meat and only handle animals when wearing gloves and the appropriate protective wear
- Animal products (meat and blood) should be thoroughly cooked before consumption
- Adhere to a strict observance of hygienic precautions (wash hands regularly, etc.)
- Avoid crowded areas (stadiums, markets, train stations, etc.) In case of doubt, individuals should seek immediate medical attention and comply with all directives issued by local health authorities.
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