Congo Declares A New Ebola Outbreak


Another Ebola virus outbreak has been confirmed in DR Congo

"The Government-Partner delegation is holding its first meeting to organize the response", North Kivu governor Julien Paluku tweeted.

Dr. Fatoumata Nafo-Traore, regional director for Africa, says the proximity to a city of more than 230,000 people and an global border also complicates the response.

Twenty people have died from haemorrhagic fevers in and around Mangina, a densely populated town in North Kivu province about 30 km southwest of the city of Beni and 100 km from the Ugandan border.

In Geneva, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said it still had staff and equipment in place in DR Congo after dealing with the May-July outbreak, and this would give it a "head-start".

Twelve health ministry experts would be sent to Beni on Thursday to help oversee the response to the outbreak, Ilunga added.

The DRC said there was no evidence to suggest the new outbreak was connected to the previous event, which resulted in 54 confirmed illnesses, 33 of them fatal.

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

Ministry of Health informed the World Health Organization (WHO) yesterday (August 1) of six possible cases, four of which have come back positive for Ebola virus, although the species responsible remains unclear.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo has experienced nine outbreaks of the Ebola virus since 1976, when the nation was called Zaire.

Salama explained that given that North-Kivu was an active conflict zone, "the major barrier will be safely accessing the affected population". Once present in humans, it causes haemorrhagic fever, vomiting and diarrhoea and is spread through direct contact with body fluids. Beni has been the site of intense fighting in recent decades, and between 2014 and 2016, more than 800 people were killed in the area, many of them by machete.

"Ebola is a constant threat in the DRC", said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.

The province shares a border with Rwanda and Uganda, and cross-border movement is common.

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