KINSHASA, Congo – Congo’s health ministry says two of the first 10 people to receive an experimental treatment for the Ebola virus in the latest outbreak have recovered, and monitoring could show what role the treatment played.
The head of the World Health Organization on Saturday congratulated Congo’s government for making several experimental treatments available in this Ebola outbreak, calling it “a global first, and a ray of hope for people with the disease.”
The two people received the mAb114 treatment isolated from a survivor of an Ebola outbreak in 1995. It was the first of five experimental treatments Congo approved for use in the outbreak that was declared on Aug. 1. The others are ZMapp, Remdesivir, Favipiravir and Regn3450 – 3471 – 3479.
WHO’s emergency preparedness chief on Friday said Ebola has spread to an area of high security risk, a “pivotal” moment that endangers the health of medical teams. Several armed groups roam Congo’s densely populated northeast, and health officials have said “red zones” where attacks occur pose a serious challenge to finding and monitoring contacts of infected people.
Congo says 79 Ebola cases have been confirmed, including 42 deaths and 14 people who have recovered. There are another 28 probable cases in which biological samples are not available for laboratory testing.
More than 3,400 people in this outbreak have received an experimental Ebola vaccine.
Ebola, a hemorrhagic fever, is spread via contact with bodily fluids of those infected, including the dead. It can be fatal in up to 90 percent of cases, depending on the strain. This is Congo’s tenth outbreak of the virus and the first in North Kivu province, which aside from the resident population hosts an estimated 1 million people displaced by fighting.
The affected region in this outbreak, which includes Ituri province to the north, borders Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan. While WHO says the public health risk is high at the national and regional level it advises against travel restrictions.
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