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article imageThree die from Ebola virus in Democratic Republic of Congo

By Karen Graham     May 12, 2017 in Health
The World Health Organization confirmed on Friday that three people have died from the Ebola virus in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The DR Congo's Health Ministry notified WHO on Thursday, May 11 that one person had tested positive for the Ebola virus and that individual had died. According to the UK's Huffington Post, the WHO has declared an Ebola epidemic in the country.
The case was confirmed after nine people came down with a hemorrhagic fever in Bas-Uele Province in the northeastern part of the country on or after April 22, 2017.
WHO Spokesman Eric Kabambi said: "The case is in a very remote zone, very forested, so we are a little lucky. We always take this very seriously."
More than 11,000 people in West Africa died during the 2014 Ebola Epidemic. A "damning" report later came out that found the majority of those who had died could have been saved if the world had been better prepared for an event of that nature.
This eastern lowland gorilla takes a pause for reflection.
This eastern lowland gorilla takes a pause for reflection.
YouTube screen grab CBS
Ebola virus in gorilla and chimpanzees taking a toll
The Ebola virus is a zoonotic disease, meaning it can be transmitted to humans from wild animals. In the last two decades, the Zaire strain of Ebola has killed about one-third of the world's gorillas and only a slightly smaller number of the world's chimpanzees, according to a study published in 2011.
Knowing the relationship between the virus and humans, through wild animals, it was only natural that there should be some way to detect the virus in the great ape population. And there is a way to do that, according to Mongabay-WildTech.
Dr. Nancy Sullivan is a viral immunologist with the Vaccine Research Center at the National Institutes for Health (NIH). She was part of a research team that developed a noninvasive method of detecting antibodies specific to the Ebola virus in great apes.
“If surveillance [in wildlife populations] had been ongoing in Liberia and Guinea,” she noted, “it’s possible that the detection of the virus in an animal reservoir may have permitted implementation of public health policies to reduce exposure of humans to these animal vectors…The reservoir is [a host in which] the virus replicates to maintain its existence. It’s an animal [for which], for a virus like Ebola, the virus may not be lethal.”
The point is, that with better information on the Ebola virus in the great ape population, and better conservation protocols, as well as a vaccine that has proven to be beneficial in humans, we may actually be better prepared to deal with any further outbreaks.
More about Ebola, Democratic Republic of Congo, Who, Confirmed, Vaccine
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