World Health Organization says latest Ebola outbreak in DR Congo is Zaire strain

World Health Organization says latest Ebola outbreak in DR Congo is Zaire strain

A health worker prepares an Ebola vaccine to administer to health workers in Mbandaka, Congo.

An Ebola outbreak in Congo has been confirmed as the Zaire strain of the virus and vaccinations of health workers may start as early as Wednesday, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday.

The outbreak is spreading through five health zones in North Kivu province and one health zone in Ituri province, which poses geographic and political challenges, the WHO said.

The outbreak declared last week in North Kivu province in the northeast near Uganda and Rwanda is a new outbreak and not connected to the one in DR Congo's northwest that was declared over on July 24, WHO's emergency preparedness chief Peter Salama said on Twitter.

That outbreak was about 2,500 km (1,553 miles) from the current outbreak.

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The agency said there were 43 cases of the disease, 13 confirmed and 30 probable, in North Kivu province.

More than 3,000 doses remain in stock in the capital Kinshasa, allowing authorities to quickly deploy it to the affected areas near the Ugandan border.

World Health Organization has warned that this new outbreak poses a particular challenge as the region is a "war zone" with several active armed groups and tens of thousands of displaced people.

He confirms that the "cold chain" for vaccinations has arrived in Beni, the main city in the region, and vaccinations should be ready by the end of this week.

As with the previous outbreak, vaccination will focus on health workers and people who have come into contact with confirmed cases of the disease, said Barthe Ndjoloko, who oversees the health ministry's Ebola response.

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