The 2014–2016 outbreak in West Africa was the largest and most complex Ebola outbreak since the virus was first discovered in 1976. There were more cases and deaths in this outbreak than all others combined. It also spread between countries, starting in Guinea then moving across land borders to Sierra Leone and Liberia.
In May 2017, health officials in the Democratic Republic of Congo registered 43 cases of Ebola with four fatalities with two suspects confirmed with the Ebola virus while others have shown symptoms only. Scientific proof of the Ebola virus and its origination is not available but it is believed that the virus is transmitted into the human blood after consuming affected wild animal meat.
Experts believe that the recent outbreak in D.R Congo is good because it is in a remote area and the rate at which it will spread is.
Prevention and Control
Good outbreak control relies on applying a package of interventions, namely case management, surveillance and contact tracing, a good laboratory service, safe burials and social mobilization.
Community engagement is key to successfully controlling outbreaks.
Raising awareness of risk factors for Ebola infection and protective measures (including vaccination) that individuals can take is an effective way to reduce human transmission.
Effective ways to prevent Ebola are:
1) Reducing the risk of wildlife-to-human transmission from contact with infected fruit bats or monkeys/apes and the consumption of their meat.
Animals should be handled with gloves and other appropriate protective clothing. Animal products (blood and meat) should be thoroughly cooked before consumption.
2) Reducing the risk of human-to-human transmission from direct or close contact with people with Ebola symptoms, particularly with their bodily fluids.
Gloves and appropriate personal protective equipment should be worn when taking care of ill patients at home. Regular hand-washing is required after visiting patients in hospital, as well as after taking care of patients at home.
3) Reducing the risk of possible sexual transmission
Based on further analysis of ongoing research and consideration by the World Health Organization (WHO) Advisory Group on the Ebola Virus Disease Response, the WHO recommends that male survivors of Ebola virus disease practice safe sex and hygiene for 12 months from onset of symptoms or until their semen tests negative twice for Ebola virus.
4) Outbreak containment measures
These measures include prompt and safe burial of the dead, identifying people who may have been in contact with someone infected with Ebola and monitoring their health for 21 days, separating the healthy from the sick to prevent further spread, and practicing good hygiene and maintaining a clean environment