Democratic Republic of Congo disease experts believe there is a low risk of the latest Ebola outbreak spreading any further. The statement comes after medical teams arrived at the scene on Wednesday 9 May. Officials cited the remoteness of the area in which the currrent outbreak has occurred as being a main factor. Officials were first alerted to 17 deaths of haemorrhagic fever last week. This was then followed up with another two cases that were reported in the northwest town of Bikoro.
This is the ninth outbreak of Ebola since the virus was discovered in 1976. There is no known cure for the disease, which is spread through the bodily fluids of those exhibiting symptoms. Without any preventative measures, the disease is able to spread quickly between humans and it carries up to a 90% fatality rate.
"The risks of propagation are very low because it is a remote area. It is about 200km from Mbandaka, the capital of the province of Equateur. So it is unlikely that a patient can leave this area and go to Mbandaka or Kinshasa," said the director of the National Institute of Biological and Bacterial Research, Dr Jean Jacques Muyembe. "I think it is an epidemic that we will quickly master," he added.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has allocated $1 million from its emergency contingency fund to help support response activities over the next three months.
The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said it has set aside $250,000 in response to the outbreak. It has also mobilised a team with previous experience in Ebola to assist. Medecins Sans Frontieres has also despatched a group to the area which includes medics, water and sanitation experts. An epidemiologist is also part of the group.