Health

New Ebola outbreak confirmed in Democratic Republic of Congo

Share
A health worker was sprayed with chlorine after visiting the isolation ward at Bikoro hospital in May

North Kivu authorities alerted the health ministry on Saturday that 26 cases of hemorrhagic fever, including 20 deaths, had occurred in and around Mangina, a town about 30km west of the city of Beni and 100km from the DRC's border with Uganda.

The response to the presumptive positive outbreak of Ebola in north-eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) will be "highly complex", according to a senior public health expert at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

Ebola is considered endemic to Congo because of its equatorial forest ecosystem.

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

The government confirmed to the World Health Organization on Wednesday that four out of six samples tested for Ebola virus at the Institut National de Recherche Biomédicale in Kinshasa returned a positive result.

GOMA, Democratic Republic of Congo, Aug 1 (Reuters) - Four cases of the Ebola virus have been confirmed in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo, the health ministry said on Wednesday.

Officials said it was not yet clear whether the two Congo outbreaks separated by more than 2,500 kilometers (1,553 miles) are linked.

"Although we did not expect to face a tenth epidemic so early, the detection of the virus is an indicator of the proper functioning of the surveillance system", Health Minister Oly Ilunga said.

Cases emerged in the northwestern city of Mbandaka, a city and transport hub on the Congo River with a population of more than a million. It spreads through contact with bodily fluids of those infected, including the dead. 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.

Meanwhile, Uganda has set up screening at the land border it shares with Congo and at its Entebbe worldwide airport.

Jose Barahona, Oxfam country director for the DRC, said the outbreak presented a serious risk to communities in Beni, where thousands of people are already facing hardship.

Share