- The Washington Times - Friday, June 8, 2018

The World Health Organization said Friday it feels “cautiously optimistic” one month after an Ebola outbreak was confirmed in the Democratic Republic of Congo, citing progress in the large city that raised fears of widespread transmission.

It’s “extremely likely” that a campaign to vaccinate contacts of people in Mbandaka, a city of more than 1 million, had a positive effect, said Peter Salama, WHO’s emergencies chief.

There’s been zero new cases in the city since mid-May.

The next several weeks will be dedicated toward stamping out the deadly virus in isolated areas south of the city.

A new case was discovered in the health zone known as Iboko — symptoms started June 2 — bringing the overall tally to 62 confirmed or suspected cases and 27 deaths.

“The outbreak is ongoing, particularly in and around Iboko,” he said.

Mr. Salama said it is very difficult to reach the forested areas. Responders must travel for hours by motorbike to reach affected populations.

“We’re talking about some of the most remote territory on Earth,” he said.

Ebola is a serious illness that is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads from human to human through the bodily fluids of people who exhibit symptoms.

Global responders say they’re working around the clock to prevent the spread of the virus in the DRC, insisting they will not allow a repeat of the West African outbreak that killed more than 11,000 in 2013-2016.

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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