Health Care

New Ebola Outbreak in Congo

New Ebola Outbreak in Congo

Congo's Health Ministry said that of the five samples sent to the National Institute of Biological Research in Kinshasa, two came back positive for the Zaire strain of Ebola in in Bikoro, in the country's Equateur Province.

The Ministry of health of DR Congo has confirmed two cases of Ebola, reports AP.

The worldwide health organisation said it released US$1 million (NZ$1.4 million) from an emergency fund and deployed more than 50 experts to work with officials in the country.

"Our country is facing another epidemic of the Ebola virus, which constitutes an worldwide public health emergency", Congo's health ministry said.

The situation on the ground in Bikoro, situated along Lake Tumba in Equateur Province is particularly challenging, given its distance from the capital and the limited availability of health services, WHO said. The last outbreak recorded by the country took place in May 2017 in the northern province of Bas-Uele which killed four people.

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A team of WHO experts - alongside regional health officials and staff from worldwide medical charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF) - are travelling to Bikoro as part of a coordinated medical response.

The virus is highly contagious and can cause organ failure as well as internal and external bleeding. The average case fatality rate is around 50%.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo has announced a fresh outbreak of the deadliest Ebola almost 10 months after the previous outbreak. "Working with partners and responding early and in a coordinated way will be vital to containing this deadly disease", he said.

WHO is now working closely with the Government of the DRC to rapidly scale up its operations and mobilize health partners using the model of a successful response to a similar EVD outbreak in 2017.

The global health agency said facilities in the town had to rely on worldwide organisations for fresh medical supplies.

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The virus is transmitted to human through contact with wild animals and can then be passed from person to person.

The Ikoko Impenge health facility, about 30 kilometres from Bikoro, has limited capabilities, relying on global organisations, WHO said.

Ebola is endemic to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Medical teams supported by the World Health Organization and medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres were dispatched to the zone on Saturday and took five samples from suspected active cases.

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