Officials are also concerned that there are gold mines in the area, which attract people from across the country and the region.
A ‘serious’ threat
Ebola hibernates for up to 21 days before symptoms such as high fever, diarrhea and abdominal pain appear. This means that there are likely more infections that have not yet been discovered.
Often these symptoms can initially be confused with other tropical diseases, which are common in the East African nation. A 24-year-old man who died of the infection earlier this week was initially treated for malaria.
The outbreak was announced Tuesday and is a relatively rare form of the disease known as the Ebola strain.
While there is a proven vaccine for the standard Zaire strain of Ebola, which has been instrumental in stopping several outbreaks in DR Congo, no vaccine has been approved to fight the Sudan strain.
This means health workers are at much greater risk, and efforts to contain the outbreak will focus on raising awareness in communities and isolating potential contact cases.
“It’s very, very important that we view this outbreak as serious at this point because we may not have the advantage we’ve gained in terms of advances in medical countermeasures,” said Patrick Otim, health officer at the World Health Organization’s regional office. . for Africa.
Race to develop vaccines
WHO officials say they are working hard to identify potential vaccine candidates that may be effective against the Sudan strain. So far, three possible jabs have been identified as potentially effective, one of which has been produced in part by the University of Oxford.