The 138th health care worker in the Democratic Republic of Congo was infected during the country's current Ebola outbreak, which was recently declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organization.
Helen Branswell of Stat Newsreports that infections of health care workers are generally common at the start of an outbreak before people realize that the disease is spreading, but the recent "steady stream" of infections is puzzling.
That's because the workers are aware they are at risk of infection and many have been vaccinated, including the worker who was recently infected. In short, Branswell doesn't "think this should be happening."
2. This late in an outbreak, when HCWs know #Ebola is around, when they've seen peers/patients/friends become infected, when upwards of 30,000 (I think) have been vaccinated, I don't think this should be happening. This person was vaxxed, but when? A while ago? Too late?
The Congolese Health Ministry confirmed on Sunday that the Ebola virus has spread to the city of Goma, home to more than one million people.
The patient is a pastor who tested positive after being screened at a health center, BBC News reports. He arrived in Goma via bus from Butembo, about 125 miles away, where he met with people who have Ebola. Officials said the bus driver and 18 passengers will receive vaccinations on Monday. "Due to the speed with which the patient has been identified and isolated, as well as the identification of all passengers from Butembo, the risk of spreading to the rest of the city of Goma remains low," the health ministry said in a statement.
Since the Ebola outbreak began in the eastern part of the country last August, more than 1,600 people have died. Goma has prepared for an Ebola outbreak, with 3,000 health workers getting vaccinated against the virus last fall. The Ebola virus begins with muscle pain and fever, and can ultimately lead to kidney and liver failure and internal and external bleeding. It spreads through direct contact with bodily fluids. Catherine Garcia
The death toll from an outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo reached 994 on Friday, the World Health Organization reported. The epidemic is expected to exceed 1,000 deaths by the end of the day, marking a grim milestone since the virus began spreading last summer, reports Reuters.
The WHO is working to expand vaccinations by using an unlicensed vaccine as another "tool in the toolbox," said Michael Ryan, director of WHO's Health Emergencies Programme. "We are anticipating a scenario of continued intense transmission." There were 27 new Ebola cases confirmed in the DRC on Sunday alone, a new single-day high, and 1,429 confirmed cases in total, reports CNN. The epidemic is the second deadliest in history, and has been exacerbated by violence in the country. Summer Meza