GENEVA: An Ebola outbreak in Democratic Republic of the Congo has a high risk of spreading internally, the World Health Organization warned today ahead of a meeting on whether to declare it an event of international concern.
In a statement, the UN agency said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus would convene an emergency committee to discuss the matter.
He is due to speak to the media later on Friday. The fresh Ebola outbreak, publicly declared on May 8 with 23 deaths so far, was first reported in a rural part of Equateur Province in the vast country’s northwest but has now spread to the city of Mbandaka.
Mbandaka’s population has been variously estimated at between 700,000 and 1.2 million. Peter Salama, in charge of emergency response at the WHO, has said the spread to a city complicated the fight against Ebola, which depends on identifying and isolating suspected cases.
The city is on the banks of the Congo River which connects to the capital Kinshasa, hundreds of kilometers to the south, and also to surrounding countries, increasing the risk of a national and regional outbreak, according to WHO officials.
Ebola is lethal and highly contagious, which makes it difficult to contain – especially in urban environments where people are mobile and come into more contact with others.
The Democratic Republic of Congo confirmed that a case of Ebola had been recorded in a northwest city, and a doctor there said several hundred people may have been in contact with people infected by the disease.
Health Minister Oly Ilunga said, “two suspected cases of haemorragic fever” had been reported in the Wangata area of Mbandaka, a city about 150 kilometers (90 miles) from the epicenter of the outbreak in the rural Equateur province. “One of the two samples tested positive for the Ebola virus,” he said in a statement.
The case was reported earlier by the UN’s World Health Organization (WHO), which expressed concern over the spread of the virus to a city – a development that typically makes it far tougher to fight a contagious disease.
“We estimate that more than 300 people have been in contact, directly or indirectly, with people contaminated by the Ebola virus in Mbandaka,” a doctor at the city’s general hospital told the Media.
The outbreak — the ninth in the DRC since Ebola was first identified as a disease in 1976 – is centered in remote Bikoro, near the border with the Republic of Congo. Out of 44 confirmed, probable or suspected cases, 23 have died, according to WHO figures.
The head of the World Health Organization was due in DR Congo to aid preparations for “all scenarios” in combatting the latest Ebola outbreak.
“WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus is on his way to the Democratic Republic of the Congo to assess the needs of the response first-hand. We are preparing for all scenarios,” the UN health agency said in a statement.
The outbreak in the region northeast of Kinshasa near the border with the Republic of Congo has so far killed 18 people around the town of Bikoro in Equateur province, according to the WHO.
A report from the provincial council of ministers said there were “three suspected cases” in the region’s capital Mbandaka, which has 700,000 inhabitants. WHO’s head of emergency response Peter Salama said Friday getting aid to the affected area was “extremely challenging” given its remoteness and lack of infrastructure.
“We know the number of suspected, probable and confirmed cases is significant. We are very concerned and we are planning for all scenarios, including the worst-case scenario,” he said. DRC health ministry Ebola responders have been dispatched to the affected area with a joint WHO and UNICEF team following.
“We are about to go to Bikoro after this stop at (regional capital) Mbandaka where we began the deployment of mobile labs to start analyses” of suspect cases,” Eugene Kabambi, leading the WHO communications team in DR Congo, told AFP Saturday, adding his team hoped to obtain results swiftly.
Chaman: 800 patients treated gratis
QUETTA: Local administration & Health Dept. have set up a day-long free medical camp here at Tuba Achakzai Dobandi, Killa Abdulla District today.
Some 800 women, children, and men also received free medicines in the camp that was held on special directive of CM Balochistan Mir Jam Kamal and Health Minister Naseebullah Marri. Deputy Commissioner Chaman Shafqat Shahwani visited the camp and also monitored facilities of the free medical camp and inquire after the patients.
Local people including tribal leader and patients appreciated the health department on arranging free medical camp for needy patients and hoped that free services of treatments would be continued in other respective areas of the province by Health sector for the betterment of common people’s health.
Big achievement in Robotic Surgery workshop
KARACHI: A successful robotic surgical procedure was performed for the first time in Pakistan on a female patient hailing from Baluchistan carried out with the removing of her uterus on the concluding day of international multi-disciplinary “robotic surgery” workshop here today.
She had intractable bleeding acquiring multiple transfusion. The procedure called “hysterectomy in medical parlance was performed at, a 55-year-old lady patient. The patient will be discharged after 24 hours. The benefit of this new type of surgery Robotic surgeons team comprising Prof.Shamim Khan of King’s College London and Dr.Kankipati Shanti Raju from Guys and St Thomas Hospitals London performed the procedure along with a team of highly trained support staff. The robotic technique used during surgery was the first of its kind in the country.
Medical experts have described the successful procedure as a major breakthrough in the field of robotic surgery in Pakistan particularly in the field of gynecology. They said this success will open new vistas of robotic surgery in the country. SIUT had arranged here three-day international workshop discussing the impact and benefit of robotic surgery in the field of urology, general surgery, and gynecology. The three fields were exclusively discussed during the workshop in which live surgery was also conducted for three days and live telecast from OT Complex, Civil Hospital Karachi. The workshop was participated by a team of visiting surgeons from Britain along with surgeons from SIUT and Civil Hospital Karachi.
Surgeons during the workshop also discussed the initial high cost this state of art surgery but were of the opinion that keeping in view parameters of less pain, less loss of blood and a faster recovery as compared to traditional surgery which became cost effective in long run underscores the need for greater use of robotic surgery in the highly selected centers in Pakistan shared amongst several specialties.
International Pharmaceutical symposium to be held on Jan 30
FAISALABAD: Government College University Faisalabad (GCUF) will organize one-day 2nd International Symposium on Pharmaceutical Sciences here on January 30.
A spokesman of university told APP here Saturday that GCUF Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Nasir Amin will grace the occasion as chief guest whereas foreigner speaker Associate Prof Dr. Pharkphoom Panichayupakaranant Director Phytomedicine & Pharmaceutical Biotechnology Excellence Center Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Prince of Songkla University of Thailand will deliver keynote lecture, he added.