Congo warns of new phase in Ebola outbreak after first urban case

Congo warns of new phase in Ebola outbreak after first urban case

The Democratic Republic of Congo's efforts to head off an Ebola epidemic is running into obstacles, with the announcement of the first registered urban case.

"From the outset, we consider that this epidemic is at high risk because of the particularities with the contamination of health professionals, reaching the three health zones in the proximity with the city of Mbandaka which is densely populated", added the minister.

Reports have further stated that over 40 people have been infected, while 23 have died so far.

He said authorities would intensify population tracing at all air, river and road routes out of the city. He said epidemiologists are working to identify additional contacts to the 500 already identified.

The Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo has spread to the northwest city of Mbandaka, the World Health Organization said, adding it will convene an Emergency Committee on Friday to consider its global risks.

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Ebola is most feared for the internal and external bleeding it can cause in victims owing to damage done to blood vessels.

"One new #Ebola case has been confirmed in an urban area of #DRC".

The WHO has also exported over 4000 doses of experimental vaccine to affected areas in Congo, with more aid expected soon, said the report. Two brothers in Mbandaka who recently visited the outbreak's starting point in Bikoro town are probable cases, with samples awaiting laboratory confirmation.

The 2014-16 West Africa outbreak, which killed 11,300 people, was particularly deadly because it spread to the capital cities of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. The vaccine will be reserved for people suspected of coming into contact with the disease, as well as health workers.

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