Congo confirms 4 Ebola cases week after outbreak ends

02 Août, 2018, 04:05 | Auteur: Yves Courtet

The Democratic Republic of Congo has reported an outbreak of Ebola in its conflict-torn east, killing 20 people, barely a week after it declared the end to an epidemic in the northwest of the vast country.

The current outbreak is centered in Mangina, a village about 30 kilometers from the city of Béni, which is close to the famed Virunga National Park and the border of Uganda. The health ministry is investigating reports of viral hemorrhagic fever.

The ministry said there was no evidence linking this outbreak with the last one, which began in April and occurred over 2,500 km (1,553 miles) away. The flare-up, first detected in the rural village of Ikoko Impenge in northwest Congo in April, was dealt with rapidly by World Health Organization and Congolese authorities, including the deployment of an experimental vaccine given to over 3,300 people.

Four cases of the disease were positively confirmed in the country's North Kivu province and more are anticipated, Dr. Oly Ilunga Kalenga, the country's health minister, said. The ministry says four of six samples sent to the capital for analysis came back positive for Ebola.

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On July 24, Ilunga himself had declared the end to a 10-week outbreak that struck the northwestern Democratic Republic of Congo, claiming 33 lives and prompting worldwide concern. The unlicensed vaccine was given to frontline workers in the DRC.

This is the central African country's 10th outbreak since 1976, when the virus was discovered near the eponymous river in the north. Authorities do not believe the new outbreak is connected to the Bikoro outbreak, which infected 54 people and killed 33 and which was just declared over.

Once present in humans, it causes haemorrhagic fever, vomiting and diarrhea and is spread through direct contact with body fluids.

An outbreak from 2014 to 2016 killed over 11,000 people in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.

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