GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – The Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour (Ministry VSA) is closely monitoring developments as it relates to the Ebola virus disease (EVD) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in Africa especially after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a public health emergency of international concern.
The Collective Prevention Services (CPS), a department within Ministry VSA, has requested Health Care Providers to review and update their EVD Preparedness and Response plans and to closely monitor EVD developments.
The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) considers the risk of Ebola to the Caribbean to be extremely low at this time.
Ebola, formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever, is a severe, often fatal illness in humans. This EVD outbreak has a fatality rate of 50 per cent. Case fatality rates have varied from 25 to 90 per cent in past outbreaks.
The virus is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission.
According to the WHO, EVD first appeared in 1976 in two simultaneous outbreaks, one in what is now Nzara, South Sudan, and the other in Yambuku, DRC. The latter occurred in a village near the Ebola River, from which the disease takes its name.
“The 2014–2016 outbreak in West Africa was the largest Ebola outbreak since the virus was first discovered in 1976. The outbreak started in Guinea and then moved across land borders to Sierra Leone and Liberia.
“The current 2018-2019 outbreak in eastern DRC is highly complex, with insecurity adversely affecting public health response activities.
“Vaccines to protect against Ebola are under development and have been used to help control the spread of Ebola outbreaks in Guinea and in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
“Early supportive care with rehydration, symptomatic treatment improves survival. There is no licensed treatment proven to neutralize the virus but a range of blood, immunological and drug therapies are under development.”
WHO aims to prevent Ebola outbreaks by maintaining surveillance for Ebola virus disease and supporting at-risk countries to develop preparedness plans.