New Ebola Outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo

New Ebola Outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo

Julie Hall, chief of staff at the International Federation of the Red Cross, said the Ebola response in North Kivu would be a "highly complex" operation.

The Health Ministry said Wednesday that local officials in North Kivu Province had sounded warnings over the weekend when they discovered 26 cases of what appeared to be a hemorrhagic fever.

Residents of northeastern Congo braced Friday amid a new outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus as the World Health Organization said it hopes to know as early as Tuesday whether the strain is the one for which an experimental vaccine can be used. The DRC's health ministry says there's no indication of a link between the outbreaks.

Global experts set up a laboratory today in Beni, WHO and Congolese officials said. 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.

According to an African media report on Monday, the outbreak began in early July, and symptoms included fever, diarrhea, vomiting, and nose bleeds.

Ebola is considered endemic to Congo because of its equatorial forest ecosystem. The National Institute of Biomedical Research in Kinshasa confirmed that samples from four hospitalized patients tested positive for Ebola.

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The majority of the cases are in the Mangina health area which is 30 kilometres from the city of Beni.

Salama explained that given that North-Kivu was an active conflict zone, "the major barrier will be safely accessing the affected population".

The region is near the heavily trafficked border with Uganda and Rwanda and two of Africa's best-known wildlife parks, Virunga and Rwenzori.

Global efforts to contain a fresh outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo could be thwarted by chronic violence in the region where the virus has been reported, health experts are warning.

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

"Ebola is a constant threat in the DRC", said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.

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