Prelims Quiz – Ebola Virus

Find the answers and detailed explanations at the end of the post:

Q.1. Which of the following African countries has recently witnessed an Ebola outbreak again:

a. Democratic Republic of Congo

b. Guinea

c. Liberia

d. Sierra Leone

Q.2. Which of the following organisation formally declares a situation to be a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC):

a. World Health Organisation

b. Pan American Health Organisation

c. Medecins Sans Frontieres/Doctors Without Borders

d. European Commission

Q.3. The terms ‘International Health Regulations’ and ‘Emergency Committees’ recently seen in news are associated with:

a. Population Services International

b. Centre for Disease Control and Prevention

c. World Health Organisation

d. CARE International

Q.4. The VSV-ZEBOV vaccine is said to offer ‘substantial protection’ against which of the following:

a. Ebola virus

b. Dengue virus

c. Zika virus

d. HIV virus

Answers and explanation-

Q. 1 – a. Democratic Republic of Congo

Q. 2 – a. World Health Organisation

Q. 3 – c. World Health Organisation

Q. 4 – a. Ebola virus

The Ebola virus returned to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) just days after the World Health Organisation (WHO) announced, on July 24, that the Ebola outbreak had ended there. Congo says it has recorded a fresh outbreak in North Kivu province — the tenth instance in the country since the virus was discovered in 1976. In 2014, Ebola had struck three West African countries – Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Read more at The Hindu.

The responsibility of determining whether an event is within this category lies with the WHO Director-General and requires the convening of a committee of experts – the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee. Read more at World Health Organisation.

The International Health Regulations (2005), or IHR (2005), represents a binding international legal agreement involving 196 countries across the globe, including all the Member States of WHO. Their aim is to help the international community prevent and respond to acute public health risks that have the potential to cross borders and threaten people worldwide. The Emergency Committee is made up of international experts who provide technical advice to the WHO Director-General in the context of a “public health emergency of international concern” (PHEIC). These two terms have been recently seen in news in the context of spread of Ebola Virus in Africa. Read more at World Health Organisation.

Experimental vaccines are under development for Ebola, including a vaccine known as VSV-EBOV, which was found to be highly effective in preventing the spread of ebola virus among persons in close contact with infected individuals. In results of the 2015 vaccination trial carried out in Guinea (and published in The Lancet), the vaccine offered “substantial protection” against Ebola. Though the vaccine is still to be approved by a regulatory agency for commercial use, it has been approved for ‘compassionate use’ in outbreaks. Read more at: Britannica.