Published: Sun, August 05, 2018
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

Four cases of Ebola confirmed in northeast Congo - health ministry

Four cases of Ebola confirmed in northeast Congo - health ministry

This is the central African country's 10th outbreak of Ebola since 1976, when the virus was discovered near the eponymous river in the north.

Authorities have not yet revealed how many cases have been detected.

The latest outbreak was found in the province of North Kivu, near the Congo's border with Uganda. Another 20 people died from unidentified haemorrhagic fevers in the area, mostly in the second half of July.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) said it would fight the resurgence of Ebola virus in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) like it fought the previous epidemics. The two outbreaks are not connected, the health ministry said.

Meanwhile, DRC flew a team led by its Health Minister Oly Ilunga Kalenga to an eastern region hit by Ebola on Thursday to help oversee the response.

The WHO emergencies director said 3,000 vaccine doses were still in Congo's capital after being positioned there for the earlier outbreak.

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Dr Fatoumata Nafo-Traoré, IFRC's Regional Director for Africa, said: "We anticipate an extremely challenging operational environment, given the fact that the presumptive outbreak is occurring in an area affected by conflict, and that is close to both a major population centre and an global border". Travel through the village of Mangina, where the majority of the cases are from, has been barred, according to The Washington Post.

Researchers have not yet identified the particular strain of ebola causing the new outbreak. "This is an active conflict zone". Once present in humans, it causes haemorrhagic fever, vomiting and diarrhoea and is spread through direct contact with body fluids.

In the worst outbreak of Ebola, the disease struck the West African states of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone in 2013-2015, killing more than 11,300 people.

Jeremy Konyndyk, an aid expert at the Center for Global Development, said other recent Ebola outbreaks had fortunately been in relatively safe and stable areas.

The province shares borders with Rwanda and Uganda with a great deal of cross-border movement due to the trade activities, which, World Health Organization warned, could increase the risk of possible spread of the virus.

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