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DRC: Panic alert as 2 dying Ebola patients are taken away from hospital for prayers



DRC: Panic alert as 2 dying Ebola patients are taken away from hospital for prayers

There is panic at the river port city of Mbandaka in the Democratic Republic of Congo after two dying Ebola patients were spirited out of a hospital by their relatives on motor-bikes, then taken to a church for prayers.

According to Dr. Jean-Clement Cabrol, emergency medical coordinator for Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders), both patients who were vomiting died hours after the prayer session with 50 other people, potentially exposing themselves to the deadly virus.

“The escape was organized by the families, with six motorcycles as the patients were very ill and couldn’t walk,” Cabrol told a news briefing in Geneva after returning from the affected region.

“They were taken to a prayer room with 50 people to pray. They were found at two in the morning, one of them dead and one was dying. So that’s 50-60 contacts right there. The patients were in the active phase of the disease, vomiting.”

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Reports say the patients had earlier escaped the isolation ward of the hospital they were both admitted in on Monday and according to Peter Salama, head of emergency response at the World Health Organization (WHO), a search party was launched.

“From the moment that they escaped, the (health) ministry, WHO and partners have been following very closely every contact,” he said.

24-hours ago, WHO warned that the outbreak of Ebola in the DRC has the “potential to expand” as the number of confirmed cases continue to rise.

According to Salama, health workers’ response is on an “epidemiological knife’s edge” especially as the number of people stricken by the virus has risen to 28 since the first outbreak was recorded early this month.

The WHO Deputy Director also confirmed that seven of the confirmed cases were recorded in urban areas.


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