Whitworth said the situation was worrying, but Congo may be better prepared to detect and manage Ebola than other countries since it has had more experience.
The number reflects 2 lab-confirmed, 14 suspected, and 18 probable cases. But already there are three separate locations covering 60km (37 miles) or more, and some of the victims were healthcare workers, potentially “an amplification factor” for outbreaks, Salama said. The virus killed at least 11,000 people across six countries, including a single fatality in the U.S. The worldwide response to that crisis was criticised for moving too slowly, prompting an apology from the WHO. Lab results are pending on the other nine cases which are suspected to be Ebola.
Local authorities in Congo have confirmed 11 new cases of Ebola, with at least one dead so far.
Burundian Public Health and AIDS Control Minister Thaddee Ndikumana told a press conference that until now, no Ebola virus case has been reported on the Burundian territory.
Whether experts will be able to find infected bats during the latest DRC outbreak remains unknown, partly because there may have been undetected cases of the disease dating back months; any culprit bat colony may have moved on by now.
“This is going to be tough and it’s going to be costly to stamp out this outbreak”, he stressed.
The organisation has a team on the ground and is preparing to send up to 40 more specialists to the region in the coming week or so. By this weekend, the first mobile lab at the outbreak site should be up and running, Salama said.
“We have always had thermal scanners in our airports that monitor temperature of passengers and capture their pictures”. “We must take extra measures to make sure people are screened at all the entry points into the country”, he said.
The funds, he said, “in effect had the potential to function as something we very, very badly need, which is a contingency fund for significant large-scale disease outbreak”.
On Tuesday, Ilunga requested support to strengthen the response to this outbreak.
In terms of funding, World Health Organization has released $1 million from its Contingency Fund for Emergencies, which is expected to last for the next three months.
Speaking at a United Nations briefing in Geneva, Salam said he hoped an “experimental vaccine” could be deployed on Congo.