LONDON (AP) – The World Health Organization says that a worrying number of the newest Ebola cases in connection with…
LONDON (AP) – The World Health Organization says that a worrying number of the newest Ebola cases in connection with Congo’s ongoing outbreak is in patients who are usually not known to catch the disease: infants.
In an update published this week, the United Nations Health Agency has reported 36 new confirmed cases of Ebola, including seven in newborn infants and infants younger than 2 years. Six cases were reported in children aged 2-17 years and one case was in a pregnant woman.
Although Ebola typically infects adults, as they are likely to be exposed to the fatal virus, children have been known in some cases to capture the disease when they act as caregivers.
Few cases of Ebola in infants have been reported, but experts suspect that transmission can be via breast milk or close contact with infected parents. Ebola is typically spread by contaminated body fluids. WHO noted that health centers have been identified as a source of Ebola transmission, with injections of medicines “a remarkable cause”.
WHO called Congo’s current epidemic “complicated and challenging.” Congo Health Ministry says there are 346 confirmed cases, including 1
75 deaths, in what has become the worst Ebola eruption in the country’s recorded history.
The outbreak has been plagued by security problems, where health workers are attacked by rebel in the district where the virus has spread. Earlier this month, Ebola detention operations were abolished after seven UN peacekeepers and 12 Congolese soldiers were killed, but all operations were resumed.
The increased number of cases in children and health workers – 39 healthcare professionals have been infected until date – suggests that outbreaks have major problems stopping the virus in the clinics health and convince people to seek help when they develop symptoms. This is the first time this part of Congo has been exposed to an outbreak of Ebola.
WHO said the risk of outbreaks spreading to neighboring countries is “very high” but it does not recommend restriction restrictions. Uganda this month began to vaccinate health workers against Ebola in a heavily-paid border area near the outbreak.