Health officials recorded 126 new cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD) over a one-week period according to figures published Tuesday, April 30. The latest figures represent a continued increase in the new number of EVD cases; the WHO notes that these new cases originated largely in geographilcally remote hotspot areas. The total number of cases in eastern DRC's North Kivu and Ituri provinces is 1466. The outbreak has resulted in 957 deaths.
Continued spread of the outbreak is likely over the near term and there remains a risk of regional and international transmission given the region's high level of insecurity, porous borders and transient population, and increased levels of violence targeting medical professionals and facilities.
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.
While the number of Ebola cases has intensified in recent weeks and months, the WHO's Emergency Committee concluded on April 12, that the outbreak in the DRC does not constitute a public health emergency of international concern.
Travelers should avoid the above areas 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 (e.g. wash hands regularly, etc.)
- Avoid crowded areas (e.g. 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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