A new Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is unrelated to the 6-month-old epidemic in West Africa, a genetic analysis has confirmed. Although the virus belongs to the same species, Ebola-Zaire, the strain is genetically so different that it "is definitely not a dissemination of the outbreak in West Africa,” says virologist Eric Leroy of the International Centre for Medical Research of Franceville, the World Health Organization collaborating center in Gabon that is characterizing the DRC virus.
Meanwhile, WHO and Doctors Without Borders (MSF) today issued fresh and even more urgent calls for immediate, massive international action to contain the West African outbreak, which is spiraling out of control. At a United Nations briefing today, MSF's Joanne Liu painted a particularly desperate picture of the situation on the ground.
"Ebola treatment centers are reduced to places where people go to die alone, where little more than palliative care is offered," Liu said. "It is impossible to keep up with the sheer number of infected people pouring into facilities. In Sierra Leone, infectious bodies are rotting in the streets. Rather than building new Ebola care centers in Liberia, we are forced to build crematoria."
At the same briefing, WHO Director-General Margaret Chan raised her fist and called for "Action, action, action!"