Published Date: 2007-09-21 11:00:08
Subject: PRO/AH/EDR> Ebola hemorrhagic fever - Congo DR (06)
Archive Number: 20070921.3138
EBOLA HEMORRHAGIC FEVER - CONGO DR (06)
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: Fri 21 Sep 2007
Source: Agence France-Presse (AFP) [edited]
A suspected death from Ebola virus has been reported in a new province in
eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo where more than 170 people are now
feared to have died from the disease in 4 months.
The new case was in East Kasai [Kasai Oriental], a central province
neighbouring the West Kasai [Kasai Occidental] where the latest outbreak
was 1st reported. There have been many deaths at a health centre in the
East Kasai town of Mwene-Ditu in recent days and samples from one that
showed Ebola-like symptoms are being studied in Kinshasa, said Benoit
Kebelo, a doctor heading a government emergency response team.
Mwene-Ditu is around 180 km (112 miles) south east of Kananga, capital of
West Kasai province, where 5 Ebola cases and one of shigellosis were
confirmed on 11 Sep 2007. Kebolo told AFP everyone should remain cautious
about the cause of the latest death. He added that "increasing awareness"
of Ebola among the population was leading to many reported symptoms that in
most cases are not linked to the outbreak.
2 more patients died from Ebola and related illnesses this week around
Kampungu, around 250 km (155 miles) north west of Kananga, and the centre
of the new epidemic, Kebolo said. These bring to 172 the number of
confirmed dead out of 381 reported cases of patients suffering symptoms
from various illnesses including Ebola, shigellosis, which is similar,
acute malaria or gastroenteritis, according to a new World Health
There is no known cure for Ebola, which causes massive internal bleeding,
and on average is fatal in around 80 per cent of cases. Shigellosis, a type
of infectious dysentery, is treatable with antibiotics, but is still fatal
in around 40 per cent of cases. Symptoms of the epidemic -- high
temperature, bloody diarrhoea, visible hemorrhaging -- were 1st seen on 27
Apr 2007 in the Kampungu region of West Kasai. Around Kampungu, a WHO
survey of the cases, shows a marked increase in the number of ill between
22 and 31 Aug 2007, with an average of 15 cases per day and a peak of 12
deaths on 27 Aug 2007. In early September  the spread of the diseases
slowed. Over the past 6 days it fell to between one and 2 new registered
cases a day, with only a maximum 2 deaths per day. "It's encouraging, but
we must still be prudent in analysing this reduction," Kebelo warned. There
is no certainty that the epidemic has ended, he added. It could be a
remission during the incubation period for Ebola (15-21 days) "before a new
explosion," he cautioned.
Meanwhile, a team of 10 WHO officials -- including a virologist, 3
epidemiologists, and Canadian specialists in setting up laboratories --
have arrived in Kananga and will be operational next week analysing samples.
[This report includes the unwelcome news that the current Ebola
haemorrhagic fever outbreak affecting the Kasai Occidental province of the
Democratic Republic of the Congo may have spread eastwards to the Kasai
Oriental province. It suggests also, however, that the Ebola fever outbreak
in Kasai Occidental may be less extensive than initially supposed and may
now be in decline. Further information is awaited.
A map of the Democratic Republic of the Congo showing the boundaries of the
Kasai Occidental and Kasai Oriental provinces and the location of Kananga
can be accessed at
<http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/africa/congo_demrep_pol98.jpg>. - Mod.CP]