During a press conference on September 25, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that there is a high risk of the ongoing Ebola EVD outbreak in North Kivu and Ituri provinces spreading in the region. According to WHO officials, a new case of the disease was detected in a town near Lake Albert, on the border with Uganda. Response efforts in North Kivu have been also disrupted by violence in the region. WHO workers temporarily suspended work in Beni between September 22-26 to allow for a period of mourning following militant attacks. As of September 28, at least 157 cases and 102 deaths have been reported since August 1. The outbreak is ongoing in two health zones in Ituri province (Mandima and Tchomia) and seven health zones in North Kivu province; Beni, Butembo, Kalunguta, Mabalako, Masereka, Musienene, and Oicha.
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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