Health Experts: Ebola Patients Must Be Isolated

MSF which runs the treatment centre in the Wangata district of Mbandaka that the patients fled said holding patients against their will would only fuel mistrust of health workers

One of the patients died at home, and his body was returned to the hospital for safe burial with the help of MSF teams, while the second came back to the facility Tuesday but died later that night, Slater said.

World Health Organization also is accelerating efforts with nine countries neighbouring Congo to try to prevent the Ebola outbreak from spreading there, saying the regional risk is high.

"In all three cases every effort was made by staff at the hospital to convince the patients - and their families - not to leave and to continue their treatment", Doctors Without Borders spokeswoman Rosie Slater told CNN.

"Forced hospitalization is not the solution to this epidemic", Doctors Without Borders said in a statement issued Wednesday. "Patient adherence is paramount".

The escape of two Ebola patients earlier this week from a treatment center in Mbandaka, a city of more than one million people, has raised fears of a rapid spread of the disease. Twenty-two psychosocial agents trained by UNICEF and its partners are providing assistance to families that are affected by the Ebola outbreak, while UNICEF is also supporting 23 children and their families who have relatives infected with Ebola by supplying household kits and food rations. In all, healthcare workers made almost 20,000 visits to just under 1,000 people to make sure the disease didn't spread.

Officials are particularly concerned by its appearance in Mbandaka, a crowded trading hub on the Congo River with road, water and air links to Congo's capital, Kinshasa.

"It is unfortunate but not unexpected". "It is normal for people to want the loved ones to be at home during what could be the last moments of life".

Ebola vaccinations will begin Monday in the two rural areas of Congo where the latest deadly outbreak was declared this month, the health ministry said Saturday, as the number of confirmed Ebola cases rose to 35, including 10 deaths. There are 28 confirmed cases, 21 probably and nine suspected cases.

That tactic - known in the medical world as "contact tracing" - has been a centerpiece of the effort to end the outbreak in Congo too, with one twist.

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Congo's ninth recorded outbreak of the disease is thought to have killed at least 22 people so far, according to government figures released on Wednesday - lower than the last estimate of 27, after some of those deaths turned out not to be Ebola.

To protect against Ebola, travelers - as well as locals - need to focus on preventing transmission of other common diseases or ailments, said Dr. Katie Geary, regional medical director for worldwide S.O.S., a global medical and security risk management company.

The rare disease causes fever, vomiting and diarrhoea. It spreads through direct contact with bodily fluids or objects contaminated by someone ill with the disease. The initial case reportedly came from a small village in Guinea, with the virus quickly spreading to Guinea's capital city of Conakry.

Ebola is initially transmitted to people from wild animals, including bats and monkeys.

But in the past few weeks, as Congo faces an Ebola outbreak, there seems to be a new refrain - "Not this time" - as local and worldwide responders scramble to apply lessons learned from the West African epidemic.

He cautioned against the widespread description of the rVSV-ZEBOV vaccine as "experimental".

A prototype vaccine will first be given to frontline health workers and then to people who have been in contact with Ebola cases.

For each confirmed case, 80 people should receive the vaccine, he said.

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