ebola update from my friend patrick in the democratic republic of congo

i was horrified to learn of yet another ebola zaire outbreak in the democratic republic of the congo. upset not only because local people are dying of ebola, but also because this outbreak is only a few hours from where my close friends patrick and anna larochelle have been doing medical work for the past several years.

thankfully i just got an email from patrick that he and his family are safe, and there are road closures and checkpoints on the roads between where he is and the outbreak.

the death and unsafe burial of a 65-year-old woman in the town of mangina was the critical event in the ebola outbreak. apart from mangina in north kivu province, there are now suspected cases in the local town of beni and neighboring ituri province (see map i created, below).

to keep close track on the ebola outbreak i recommend following oly ilunga, tedros adhanom ghebreyesus and peter salama. Others to follow include nahid bhadelia, helen branswell, and onisillos sekkides. the lancet’s ebola resource centre is also very useful.

this outbreak may give the world another chance to test merck’s experimental ebola vaccine. however, delivering it could prove extremely dangerous, given the violence and displaced people in the area.

other experimental therapeutics that could be given include zmapp, REGN3470-3471-3479, mAb 114 from NIAID, remdesivir, and favipiravir. besides unclear efficacy and safety, other issues are these treatments are unlikely to be scalable due to cost. a vaccine should remain our top priority, and kudos to the researchers from around the world working hard on an ebola vaccine, for example jason regules and colleagues from usamriid/usuhs. see dr regules’s interesting paper on circulating follicular T helper cells and cytokine profiles after ebola vaccination.

what do you think the world should do to stop the ebola outbreak? how do we raise attention and money? this disease is deadly.

i do spend a lot of time on these blog posts so if you would consider sharing with others or leaving a comment below that would be very much appreciated! best regards, philip albert lederer

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