CONGO’S NEIGHBOURS ON HIGH ALERT AFTER COUNTRY FAILS TO CONTAIN EBOLA OUTBREAK
(Posted 18th May 2018)
Countries neighbouring the Democratic Republic of Congo have gone on high alert after information emerged that health authorities in the Congo have failed to contain the current Ebola outbreak to the area of origin.
At least one case, probably more, have now been identified in the million plus city of Mbandaka, which is over 150 kilometres from the original outbreak site.
What makes the situation so challenging is that Mbandaka is a key traffic point along the Congo River with barges and passenger vessels going both up and downstream, touching yet more heavily populated areas of the sprawling central African country.
Mbandaka also has an airport (IATA: MDK, ICAO: FZEA) from where flights connect to the rest of the Congo including the capital Kinshasa, prompting fears that if Congolese health authorities – which frankly speaking appear to be completely overwhelmed by this challenge – fail to contain the disease at the present locations, Ebola could reach other population centres.
This is the same scenario as was the case in West Africa where, unlike seen at past outbreaks in Uganda where authorities immediately cordoned off the area and imposed movement restrictions until the outbreaks were confirmed to have ended – government departments completely underestimated the danger of a disease spread and failed to listen to advice from countries with proven experience how to contain and fight Ebola.
Confirmation of urban #Ebola in #DRC is a game changer in this outbreak – the challenge just got much much tougher http://www.who.int/news-room/detail/17-05-2018-who-concerned-as-one-ebola-case-confirmed-in-urban-area-of-democratic-republic-of-the-congo … @WHOAFRO
One new case of Ebola virus disease (EVD) has been confirmed in Wangata, one of the three health zones of Mbandaka, a city of nearly 1.2 million people in Equateur Province in northwestern Democratic…
While the World Health Organization has dispatched advisory teams and most important vaccines to Congo, can only time tell how this will impact the fight against this latest Ebola outbreak in a country where the government is in self preservation mode rather than fully focusing on delivering services to their people.
In the meantime have countries neighbouring Congo put effective measures into place, along land borders but also at airports, where passengers are now screened again for increased body temperatures. Those arriving with a fever, regardless where their journey originated, can expect to be subjected to extra screening and a possible quarantaine to ensure that failures by the Congolese government to immediately and effectively combat the disease and stop its spread will not lead to an export of same to other countries in Africa and beyond.
WHO has indicated that the organization is going to hold an emergency meeting today, Friday 18th of May to assess the risks of a wider spread of the disease even beyond Congo’s borders.
Notably have tourism marketing organizations and the tourism private sector in countries badly affected by the West African Ebola outbreak between 2013 and 2016 stepped up their information campaigns in their key source markets to vigorously assure wannabe visitors to Eastern and Southern Africa that their countries are free of Ebola and travelers will be safe to visit.