December 25, 2008

MSF teams Teams Caring for Patients and Working to Control Epidemic

Blood samples from patients in the Western Kasai Province in central Democratic Republic of Congo that were sent to laboratories in Gabon have tested positive for Ebola hemorrhagic fever. Thirty -three people suspected of suffering from Ebola, including nine people who have died, have been reported since November 27. Additional blood and stool samples have been taken for testing.

A number of new patients suspected of being infected with the Ebola virus are being followed up. MSF is closely following a patient with fever at a health center in the village of Kaluamba .

An MSF team of nine Ebola specialists from Kinshasa and Brussels is currently working in Western Kasai. Logisticians are building an isolation ward in the village of Kampungu and putting in place all protection measures. The medical team is also providing care to all people suspected of having the disease. There is no cure for Ebola, so supportive and palliative care is provided.

In order to better understand the epidemic and to prevent further propagation of the virus, the MSF team is also identifying people who have been in contact with others infected with the Ebola virus. In case of new deaths, it will be crucial to ensure that bodies are buried properly, in order to prevent contamination.

An additional MSF doctor, a specialist in in hemorrhagic fevers, is departing tomorrow from Brussels and a health promoter will also reinforce the team from Kinshasa . MSF is considering dispatching additional specialists if needed.