Wed, May 16, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Travel warning level raised for DR Congo over Ebola

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) yesterday raised the travel warning level for the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo) after 39 suspected, probable or confirmed Ebola cases were reported there.

The CDC advised people to avoid non-essential travel to the DR Congo, saying if they must travel, they should avoid coming into contact with living or dead wild animals, eating wild animal meat and visiting Ebola patients.

The African nation reported 12 suspected, 25 probable and two confirmed cases of Ebola between April 4 and Sunday, 19 of whom died, near Bikoro and surrounding areas in the northwest, CDC Epidemic Intelligence Center Director Liu Ting-ping (劉定萍) said.

Three among the dead were medical practitioners, he said, adding that there were also 120 cases of unexplained deaths reported in March and last month in the northeastern Ituri Province.

The virus can be transmitted from wild animals to humans through contact with intermediate hosts, such as infected monkeys, apes, bats or other wild animals, or from person to person through direct contact with the blood, secretions or other bodily fluids of infected people, CDC Deputy Director-General Philip Lo (羅一鈞) said.

The incubation period of the virus ranges from two to 21 days, and people become infectious after the onset of symptoms, he said, adding that early symptoms include sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat, followed by vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, rashes and internal and external bleeding in some cases.

Serious complications include impaired kidney and liver function, kidney failure, central nervous system damage and multiple organ failure, Lo said, adding that the fatality rate can reach 90 percent.

The CDC said that people who are traveling to the DR Congo should maintain good personal hygiene, wash their hands frequently and wear a surgical mask, and seek immediate medical attention and report their travel history if suspected symptoms occur within 21 days after returning from the country.

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