An outbreak of Ebola hemorrhagic fever in the Democratic Republic of Congo has occurred over the last two weeks. The disease appears to be rapidly spreading. Indeed, Reuters quotes the World Health Organization as saying: "The epidemic is not under control. On the contrary the situation is very, very serious." Eugene Kabambi, a WHO spokesman in Congo's capital Kinshasa, also told Reuters. "If nothing is done now, the disease will reach other places, and even major towns will be threatened."
So far, deaths have doubled to 31 in just two weeks. That number includes five medical workers.
This outbreak follows the death of 16 people in Uganda north of Congo just last month. Those deaths have also been attributed to Ebola but the WHO says the two epidemics are unconnected. WHO also says that there are now 65 more probable cases in Congo, with 108 others under suspicion.
Kabambi said only one suspected case in Kinshasa, the capital, has appeared; and it has been proven to be negative. Kinshasa has a population of 9 million people, and no “health care” infrastructure to speak of. What few hard to find medical facilities and services are available are crumbling before one’s eyes. Should Ebola strike there, we are looking then at a plague of biblical proportions.
Ebola is fatal in 50 to 90 percent of cases. Symptoms involve bleeding from most, if not all, body orifices before dying in the most severe and horrific pain. The virus (there are five different types) is transmitted to humans from monkeys and birds. The virus apparently dissolves internal organs, which bleed out through body orifices.
Ebola is highly contagious. It is contracted through contact with body fluids, any body fluids. This particular outbreak is being blamed on villagers eating contaminated "bush meat." Another theory -- more than a theory, really -- is that for religious reasons some villagers thoroughly cleanse dead bodies by hand before burial, thus picking up and transmitting the virus.
According to the Federal Drug Administration, there is no cure or treatment for Ebola beyond primarily supportive regimens including “minimizing invasive procedures, balancing fluids and electrolytes to counter dehydration, administration of anticoagulants early in infection to prevent or control disseminated intravascular coagulation, administration of procoagulants late in infection to control hemorrhaging, maintaining oxygen levels, pain management, and administration of antibiotics or antimycotics to treat secondary infections.”
The virus seems to have found a home in Uganda. Although it is considered “rare,” this hemorrhagic disease killed 37 people in western Uganda in 2007 and at least 170 in the north of the country in 2000. It first appeared in 1976 – in Uganda. It gets its name from a river where that first case was discovered.
$2 million have been allocated by WHO to treat victims and to force the virus back into the forest.