1) The DRC is in the midst of the second largest Ebola outbreak in history.
According to the World Health Organization, confirmed cases of Ebola have exceeded 2000 in the DRC. This makes it the second-largest outbreak in history, after the 2014-2016 epidemic.
There are several reasons that the WHO has been unable to get a handle
on this outbreak. Last year, I wrote about how the families of Ebola
patients were breaking them out of quarantine and taking them to prayer meetings. I also wrote that the disease had reached a major urban center, increasing the likelihood of its spread.
The area at the heart of the outbreak is a warzone, which makes it
difficult for doctors to treat patients, and at the same time, the
patients are untrusting of modern medicine. People are fleeing Ebola-stricken villages in fear, which just makes the spread more likely.
2) Ebola is no longer contained within the DRC
Today it was reported that Ebola has hopped the border into Uganda,
where today, a young patient died. The five-year-old deceased has two
relatives who have also tested positive.
Zero Hedge reports:
On Wednesday, health experts in both countries were scrambling to
understand how the boy’s relatives crossed the border on June 9th, and
who they may have infected along the way. The boy was taken to a Ugandan
hospital after vomiting blood and exhibiting other symptoms, while two relatives of the boy also tested positive for Ebola. Uganda
has been heavily screening visitors from Congo for signs of fever, and
has vaccinated more than 4,700 health workers against the disease
according to a joint statement by WHO and Ugandan officials.
Uganda’s health ministry said the
boy’s mother, who is Congolese but married to a Ugandan and living in
the Kasese district of Uganda, had travelled back to Congo to nurse her
sick father, who subsequently died of Ebola. On returning to
Uganda, the boy had started coughing up blood and vomiting and was taken
to Kagando hospital where health workers immediately suspected Ebola.
A sample of his blood tested positive for Ebola and on Wednesday two of
the boy’s relatives were also confirmed to have contracted the disease. –Financial Times (source)
Experts have warned if Ebola spreads into other countries that the virus will become even more difficult to contain.
Angola, which shares a border with the DRC, has closed that border to prevent the spread of the virus into their country.
3) The Department of Border Patrol just apprehended a large group of people from Africa
In a press release, the Border Patrol announced on May 31 that they had apprehended 116 people from Africa trying to cross the Mexican/US border. U.S. Border Patrol agents assigned to the Del Rio Station apprehended a large group of 116 individuals Thursday. “Large groups present a unique challenge for the men and women of the Del Rio Sector,” said Chief Raul Ortiz. “This large group from Africa further demonstrates the complexity and severity of the border security and humanitarian crisis at our Southwest border.” Agents performing line watch operations apprehended the group after they illegally crossed the Rio Grande into the U.S. around 10:30 p.m. This is the first large group apprehended in the Del Rio Sector and the first large group of people from Africa – including nationals from Angola, Cameroon and Congo – apprehended on the Southwest border this year. (source) Here’s a video of the apprehension. This link came from the press release above.
4) And these aren’t the only people from the DRC coming into the United States through Mexico.
Border Patrol says that there’s an uptick of migrants from this part of
the world entering the United States through the Southern border.
On June 5, agents assigned to the Eagle Pass Station arrested a group of
34 people from the continent of Africa. Since May 30, more than 500
people from the continent of Africa have been arrested by the U.S.
Border Patrol in Del Rio Sector. Agents have encountered immigrants from
Africa crossing the Rio Grande River in multiple separate events,
including one group of over 100 individuals. These groups are primarily
made up of family units from the Republic of the Congo, the Democratic
Republic of the Congo and Angola. (source)
On June 6, San Antonio news station put out a desperate plea for French-speaking volunteers to help with an influx of migrants from the area. Interim Assistant City Manager Dr. Collen Bridger shared the details of the situation with KEN 5: Bridger said the Congolese migrants began to arrive in town on Tuesday. They told Migrant Resource Center workers, they traveled with a group of about 350 migrants through Ecuador to the southern border. “When we called Border Patrol to confirm, they said, ‘yea another 200 to 300 from the Congo and Angola will be coming to San Antonio,’” Bridger said.
5) The medical screening process is overwhelmed
Another concern is the quick screening process performed by physicians at the border. There has been a massive influx of immigrants crossing through from Mexico into the United States and the system is overwhelmed. While every person crossing has some kind of health check-up, Ebola is difficult to catch in the early stages. According to the CDC: Diagnosing Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) shortly after infection can be difficult. Early symptoms of EVD such as fever, headache, and weakness are not specific to Ebola virus infection and often are seen in patients with other more common diseases, like malaria and typhoid fever. To determine whether Ebola virus infection is a possible diagnosis, there must be a combination of symptoms suggestive of EVD AND a possible exposure to EVD within 21 days before the onset of symptoms (source) I was unable to find detailed information on the exact screening process for asylum seekers crossing the border from Mexico. If someone locates it, please share it in the comments so I can update this article. Update: Here’s a link to the CDC’s recommended screening process for refugees. It particularly notes tests for Hepatitis, HIV, parasites, malaria, STDs, and tuberculosis, along with some general tests. Keep in mind that the symptoms of Ebola may not show up for 21 days, so it’s possible for a person to pass a medical exam during the incubation period. There are quarantine stations at all US points of entry and laws that cover isolation and quarantine. As for how long people are quarantined, it appears it may be 72 hours. There’s obviously going to be some travel time, too, but it really depends on how the asylum seeker reached the border. Did they spend months walking through Mexico on foot? If so, they would have already shown symptoms. But it has not been made clear how they arrived at the border.
The stage is being set for what could be a catastrophe of epic proportion. Here’s what you need to know to prep for a potential Ebola outbreak in the United States and here’s a detailed book about prepping for a variety of pandemics. Here’s more information about how Ebola is transmitted.The United States dodged the bullet last time Ebola cast its shadow here. Will we get that lucky again?
Ebola outbreak crosses borders – Was brought to Uganda by 5-year-old Congolese boy
Ebola…has now spread to Uganda.
A 5-year-old Congolese boy who traveled to Uganda died from the disease on Wednesday. The boy’s younger brother and grandmother have also tested positive for Ebola.
The DRC has been suffering from the second-largest and second-deadliest Ebola outbreak in history since it began in August. More than 1,300 have died. Uganda had been preparing itself for this moment: About 4,700 health workers have been vaccinated in 165 health facilities, and Ebola treatment centers have already been set up. The epidemic still remains dangerous, however, as preventive measures have proved ineffective. Rwanda, which borders both Uganda and the DRC, has announced it will tighten border surveillance. There’s now more pressure on the World Health Organization to declare the outbreak a global health emergency — something it had avoided doing until now because the disease had not yet spread to other countries. An expert committee will meet on Friday to discuss whether to make the emergency declaration for this epidemic, which shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.