Confirmed Ebola cases rise to 13 in Congo's latest outbreak

Maricruz Casares
Agosto 6, 2018

A total of 43 cases of Ebola haemorrhagic fever, 13 of which have been confirmed, have been recorded since the beginning of the new epidemic in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo declared on 1 August, according to a report published on Saturday by Congo's Ministry of Health.

Congo announced the latest outbreak on Wednesday with four confirmed cases, a week after declaring the end to a previous outbreak in the northwest with 33 deaths.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned that this new outbreak of the deadly virus in North Kivu province poses a particular challenge as the region is a "war zone" with several active armed groups and thousands of displaced people.

The ministry noted 30 probable Ebola cases in the new outbreak and said another 33 suspected cases were under investigation, with laboratory testing underway. Overall 33 people have died, it said.

"WHO is deploying more than 18 experts including epidemiologists, logisticians and experts in Infection Prevention Control, risk communication, social mobilization and community engagement from Goma, Kinshasa and Mbandaka to support the Ministry of Health to stop rapidly the Ebola virus from spreading", said Dr Allarangar Yokouidé, WHO Representative in the DRC.

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

They met with local authorities, including the Mayor of Beni, Mabalako health zone chief and other members of the community to discuss the best way to respond to the outbreak.

Congo has dealt with Ebola for decades and this is its tenth outbreak of the virus. There is no specific treatment, and the virus can be fatal in up to 90 percent of cases, depending on the strain.

It has a natural host in a species of tropical African fruit bats, from which it is believed to leap to humans who kill and butcher the animals for food. "She was buried, we believe, in an unsafe burial in terms of Ebola standards and seven deaths have occurred in her immediate family", Salama said.

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