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Ebola continues in Congo, survivors bear risk of death despite recovery

Christian Fernsby ▼ | September 6, 2019
The World Health Organization (WHO) has released a new report that reveals that, in the final week of August, there were 59 new confirmed Ebola cases and an additional 45 deaths in seven health zones in three affected provinces in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
Uganda Ebola
Africa   Four Ebola cases have crossed into neighbouring Uganda
Four cases have crossed into neighbouring Uganda, including a nine-year-old Congolese girl who died from the disease.

A study that tracked over 1,000 Ebola survivors found they had a higher than usual chance of dying in the year after their recovery. Some health officials said the results suggest more should be done to monitor the health of survivors amid the ongoing outbreak in Congo.

Researchers at the World Health Organization and elsewhere collected information about 1,130 people who were hospitalized with Ebola in Guinea during the 2014-16 West Africa epidemic.

Of those survivors, 59 died, or about 5%. Nearly two-thirds reportedly had kidney problems that may have contributed to their deaths.

Compared to the general public, the survivors had a five times higher risk of dying in the first year after their release, the study reported.

With limited access to medical records, the researchers mostly relied on the memories of family members for when and how their relative died.

But scientists say the findings could be relevant as the Ebola virus continues to spread in Congo and could prompt changes in how survivors are tracked.

The Ebola simulation drills have kicked off in Tanzania on the Kigpoma Province bordering the Democratic Republic of Congo in order to step up the preparedness against the possible Ebola spill-over from DRC to Tanzania.

As APO Group reported, the drills indicated an urgent need for a review and reclassification of the standards for each facility at entry points at the borders between Tanzania and DR Congo.

“Local traders export to DRC, and we also have arrivals from the DRC,” says Asina Malinde, a Village Executive in Ilagala. From the DRC, boats come loaded with cargo. Malinde now worries that these boats can import the Ebola virus disease because of the ongoing outbreak in their departure vicinity.

The Hampstead hospital which saved three British health workers who had contracted Ebola is sending nurses to Africa to help tackle the latest outbreak.

Both nurses have been training at the hospital’s isolation unit where Pauline Cafferkey, Will Pooley and Anna Cross were treated for Ebola after volunteering in Sierra Leone.