Published: Sat, August 04, 2018
Medical | By

Congo declares new Ebola outbreak with four confirmed cases in eastern province

Congo declares new Ebola outbreak with four confirmed cases in eastern province

Congo's Ministry of Health was notified Saturday of 26 cases of fever "with hemorrhagic signs" that included 20 deaths in Beni, a city in the northeast province of North Kivu.

Officials have said they now feel better prepared for Ebola outbreaks, in sharp contrast to the 2014 epidemic of the virus, which killed more than 11,000 people, mostly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Oly Ilunga, MD, of the DRC's health minister, took to Twitter today to announce the cases, which are centered around Beni in the Magina health district.

The North Kivu is Congo's third Ebola outbreak in 2018, but officials this time have large supplies of vaccines and the means to educate the country's population about symptoms.

In addition, 12 Ministry of Health experts including epidemiologists and doctors will travel to Beni with a mobile laboratory and protective equipment from the National Institute of Biomedical Research in Kinshasa.

The type of Ebola in the latest outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo is the Zaire strain which has been successfully vaccinated against in past flare-ups, the health ministry said in a statement on Thursday.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said its response to the earlier outbreak had decidedly helped curtail any spread.

Tedros said: "Ebola is a constant threat in the DRC; what adds to our confidence in the country's ability to respond is the transparency they have displayed once again". Of the six samples analyzed for Ebola, four came back positive.

The resurgence of the disease in North Kivu, an active conflict area that houses more than 1 million displaced people, will present fresh challenges to the authorities. "This new cluster is occurring in an environment which is very different from where we were operating in the northwest", said Dr Peter Salama, WHO Deputy Director-General, Emergency Preparedness and Response.

The area also has strong trade with neighbouring Rwanda and Uganda, raising the risk of the virus moving internationally.

Ebola is endemic in the DRC, which now has had 10 outbreaks since the virus first was discovered there in 1976.

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