Health officials have reported 11 additional cases of the Ebola virus disease (EVD) in Equateur province between Saturday, August 1, and Tuesday, August 11, bringing the total number of confirmed cases since May 18 to 80, with 84 reported in total. Nine health zones are said to be affected across the province, with the most affected areas being Bikoro and Mbandaka. The most recent cases were reported in Lilanga Bobangi and Lolanga Mampoko health zones.
Further spread of the disease is likely over the near term.
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 the later stages, internal and external hemorrhaging.
The latest EVD epidemic is the third to hit the DRC in the last two years, and the second in Mbandaka after a previous outbreak in 2018 that killed 33 people.
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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