Bodies buried, Congo turns to next Ebola outbreak

Source(s): Thomson Reuters

By Inna Lazareva

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Marie-Claire Thérèse Fwelo, a WHO official who has worked on all nine Ebola outbreaks in her native DRC, said it was key to counter misinformation, citing rumours that the vaccine could make people sterile, or that Ebola was caused by a curse.

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Quick diagnosis is a challenge - the latest DRC outbreak may have gone undetected for months, according to a recent Lancet study - and technology could be a big help.

The IFRC's Capobianco said mobile phones could be used to report suspected cases in real time, pinpointing locations and allowing analysts to map any outbreak. He conceded that such systems, however, depend on a functioning communications network, a problem in the most recent outbreak.

The Red Cross is also developing a mobile phone data collection app to support response and recovery efforts.

In Tanzania, a new app lets locals record symptoms of suspected diseases, such as Ebola and cholera, on their phones. The data enables experts to make a diagnosis and alert the authorities to a potential outbreak faster.

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