On Monday, June 1, Congolese authorities announced the identification of a new Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) epidemic in the city of Mbandaka (Equator province), more than 1000km (621 miles) from an ongoing outbreak in the east of the country. Health Minister Eteni Longondo confirmed that four people had died of the disease in Mbandaka so far, without providing further information.
Further spread of the disease is likely as secondary cases are identified.
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.
Individuals in Mbandaka are advised to monitor the situation and take measures to prevent the contraction and spread of EVD, including:
- 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 appropriate protective wear.
- Animal products (e.g. 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.).
Individuals exhibiting the abovementioned symptoms and traveling in an area of active EVD transmission should seek immediate medical attention and comply with all directives issued by local health authorities.
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