Ebola: UN expert warns new transmission chain risks reversing gains


  • Mary Corcoran
  • Univadis Medical News
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A leading United Nations (UN) medic has warned that a newly identified Ebola death in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) which is “unlinked to any chain of transmission” risks reversing major gains against the epidemic. 

Dr Mike Ryan, Executive Director for the WHO Health Emergencies programme, said that while 98 per cent of infections in the last three weeks could be traced back to two different routes or chains of transmission, a third has now been identified. 

The source of exposure is yet to be identified and a multidisciplinary team has commenced investigation of this chain of transmission. 

The individual had visited three separate healthcare centres before being detected. 

Officials have identified 200 contacts as being associated with the case, of which 62 were considered to be at extreme high risk of exposure. However, authorities say they have seen just 19 of these contacts as they do not have access to this community. 

While Dr Ryan said Ebola is “likely to be with us for months,” he does not expect an explosion in the number of cases. He cautioned, however, that if the security situation in the region does not improve or deteriorate, "we could work our way back to a very bad situation."