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Ebola: Answers to your questions – BBC News


A Congolese healthcare professional manages the Ebola vaccine for a child at the Health Center Himbe in GomaCopyright for images

The latest outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has been declared by the World Health Organization as "an emergency situation in the field of public health of international importance".

This outbreak is the second largest in history and has infected 2,500 people, of whom more than 1,600 died.

The biggest outbreak was an epidemic that devastated parts of West Africa from 2014 to 2016 and killed more than 11,000 people.

You sent us your questions about the virus, to which BBC correspondent James Gallagher replied.

Norman: Where did Ebola arrive and when was it first discovered?

Ebola was discovered in 1976 when two deadly outbreaks of the disease occurred. One was in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the former Zair, in a village near the Ebola River, which is why it is the name of the virus. But where does Ebola come from, it's still a mystery.

People are not "natural hosts" of Ebola. In every outbreak, the virus was transmitted to people of other animal species. Fruit bats are a very likely culprit – but this has not been finally confirmed.

Masitano: What factors contribute to the distrust of health workers in the DRC and to what extent is this a challenge?

Misconduct is a big problem. It emerges from decades of conflict in the region that undermined faith in local authorities and led to widespread distrust of foreigners.

The motives of health professionals and their security escorts (which are needed due to the risk of violence) are questionable.

And the survey, in The Lancet Infectious Diseases, suggests that one in four people in the DRC does not even believe that the ebola is real.

There are rumors about the ebola for financial gain (for example, through organ trafficking).

All of this is dangerous because ebola can be solved only by working with the community.

One third of the deaths occur in people's homes – where they risk spreading the disease – and not in ebola treatment centers.

And finding a patient's contact with an ebola is impossible if people do not participate.

Justin: Why there are no travel restrictions?

Simply because the World Health Organization believes that restrictions could make things worse.

They said it was essential to avoid the "punitive economic consequences" of introducing trade and travel restrictions and to protect the survival of people.

"It is also essential that countries do not use public health emergencies of international significance as an excuse for introducing trade or travel restrictions that would have a negative impact on the response and the life and survival of people in the region," Prof. Robert Steffen, Chairman of the WHO Emergency Committee.

Instead of closing the boundaries, there is a comprehensive overview of the people who may have been infected with the disease.

Over the course of the past week, more than 2.1 million screening tests (including temperature test for the determination of heat) were performed on major traffic routes.

What is Ebola?

Copyright for images
BSIP / Getty Images

  • Ebola is a virus that initially causes sudden fever, severe weakness, muscle pain and sore throat
  • It progresses to vomiting, diarrhea and internal and external bleeding
  • People are infected if they have direct contact with damaged skin or with the mouth and nose, with blood, vomiting, faeces or body fluids someone with ebola
  • Patients usually die of dehydration and multiple organ failure

Or: Why is not a vaccine mandatory for everyone?

One question is the amount of vaccine that is available.

Instead, a procedure called "ring vaccination" is used.

If someone is diagnosed with an ebola, then everyone who has come into contact and everyone they contact come up with an ebola vaccine.

Even high-risk patients, such as doctors and nurses who treat patients, also get a blow.

Maike: How and where can you get vaccination against the Ebola?

If you're not one of the people above, then you can not. The vaccine is still not commercially licensed, so it is only used on the front line of the outbreak in the DR Congo.

Gordon: I have to fly to the DR Congo, via Gome. Should I go?

It is best to check the current advice issued by your government.

The United Kingdom Office for Foreign Affairs and the Commonwealth advises against "all but essential travel" Gomi. It advises not to travel to other parts of the DR Congo.

Emily: Was it refuted that the ebola outbreak came from eating with meat?

The first person to catch an ebola in the outbreak will be caught by close contact with the blood, organs or other body fluids of the infected animals.

This could include fruit bats (potentially natural ebola reservoirs), chimpanzees, gorillas, monkeys, forest antelope or dicobes that can infect and kill ebola. The preparation or consumption of infected wild meat is a possible source of infection.

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