Ebola kills 34 in Democratic Republic of Congo

10 Août, 2018, 20:27 | Auteur: Yves Courtet
  • Inside an Ebola outbreak epicenter

A Congolese health worker checks the temperature of a woman before the launch of vaccination campaign against the deadly Ebola virus near Mangina village, near the town of Beni, in North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of Congo, August 8, 2018.

The Ebola outbreak in Congo is confirmed to be the Zaire strain of the virus and vaccinations of health workers may start as early as Wednesday, a senior official of the World Health Organization (WHO) said.

WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said: "Around 40 health workers are expected to be vaccinated today; by end of the week, once all the necessary steps are in place, vaccination of community contacts and their contacts will commence".

The experimental vaccine was used in an earlier, unrelated outbreak in Congo's northwest that was declared over last month.

Health experts in the city closest to the new outbreak, Beni, have been setting up "cold chains" to keep the vaccines at the optimal temperature of minus 70 degrees Celsius, a challenge in a region with hot temperatures and unreliable power supplies. "At this point, there is no indication that these two epidemics, which are more than 2,500 kilometres (1,500 miles) apart, are connected", Health Minister Oly Ilunga Kalenga said in a statement.

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Prior official toll was 7 dead, with the two latest victims - like all the others - registered in the Beni region in North Kivu province, an area which shares borders with Uganda and Rwanda.

"In total, 43 cases of haemorrhagic fever have been reported in the (Beni) region, including 16 confirmed and 27 probable, and 46 suspected cases are under investigation", the ministry said Tuesday.

The disease which causes serious illness including vomiting, diarrhoea and in some cases internal and external bleeding is often fatal if untreated.

Nearly 1,000 people who have had "contact" with the virus have been registered in health zones under surveillance, it said.

Ebola, first identified in the country in 1976, jumps to humans from animals including bats and monkeys.

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