Ebola death toll in DR Congo touches 41, doctors try new drug


Beni, August 14: Forty-one people have died in the latest outbreak of Ebola in DR Congo, health authorities said on Tuesday, adding that doctors were using a novel drug to treat patients.
Out of 57 recorded cases as of Monday, 41 were fatal, the Congolese health ministry and UN’s World Health Organization (WHO) said. Fourteen of the deaths had been confirmed by lab tests, the ministry said.
Last Friday, the ministry put the tally at 37 deaths, either confirmed or suspected.
The outbreak is the country’s 10th since 1976, when the disease was first identified in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) near the Ebola River, a tributary of the Congo.
Its epicentre is Mangina in the region of Beni, in the strife-torn eastern province of North Kivu.
For the first time since the outbreak was announced on August 1, one fatality was recorded outside of North Kivu — in the neighbouring province of Ituri, the ministry’s directorate for disease control said.
It added that doctors in Beni had started to use a novel treatment called mAb114 to treat patients with Ebola. The treatment is “the first therapeutic drug against the virus to be used in an active Ebola epidemic in the DRC”, it said.
Developed in the United States, the prototype drug is a so-called single monoclonal antibody — a protein that binds on to a specific target of the virus and triggers the body’s immune system to destroy the invader. (AFP)