Officials are also concerned because there are gold mines in the area that attract people from across the country and region.
A “serious” threat
Ebola has a dormant period of up to 21 days before symptoms such as high fever, diarrhea and abdominal pain begin to appear. This means that there are likely to be more infections that have not yet been detected.
Often these symptoms can initially be confused with other tropical diseases common to the East African nation. The 24-year-old man who died of the infection earlier this week was initially being treated for malaria.
The outbreak was announced on Tuesday and is a relatively rare form of the disease known as a strain of Ebola.
While there is a tested 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 Sudanese strain.
This means healthcare workers face much greater risks, and efforts to contain the outbreak will focus on community awareness and isolation of potential contact cases.
“It’s very, very critical that we treat this outbreak as serious at this point because we may not have the advantage that we’ve gained in terms of advances in medical countermeasures,” said Patrick Otim, emergencies officer at the World Health Organization’s regional office organizations. for Africa.
The race to develop vaccines
WHO officials say they are working hard to identify potential vaccines that could be effective against the Sudanese strain. So far, three possible jabs have been identified as potentially effective, with one partially developed by the University of Oxford.