DRC confirms 2 Ebola infections, probes suspected cases

Aaron Brown
May 9, 2018

Two cases of the Ebola virus disease have been confirmed by a lab report in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), according to a source from the Ministry of Health on Tuesday.

The health ministry of the Democratic Republic of Congo announced on Tuesday that seventeen people have died from Ebola in an outbreak it called a "public health emergency with global impact".

It is the ninth time Ebola has been recorded in the central African nation, whose eastern Ebola river gave the deadly virus its name when it was discovered there in the 1970s, and comes less than a year after its last outbreak which killed eight people.

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Of the five samples drawn, two tested positive for Ebola-Zaire.

Over the past 5 weeks, 21 cases of viral hemorrhagic fever have been identified in and around Ilkoko Iponge, 17 of them fatal. It can be spread through direct contact with another person's blood or body fluids which includes urine, saliva, sweat, feces, vomit, breast milk, and semen, objects that have come in contact with body fluids from an infected person, infected fruit bats and primates, and possibly contact with semen from a man who recovered from Ebola.

The WHO said it is working closely with the DRC's government to quickly scale up operations and response, similar to that involving an Ebola outbreak in 2017 in the remote northern Bas-Uele province that resulted in four deaths and another four illnesses.

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The first multidisciplinary team comprised of experts from WHO, Médecins Sans Frontières and Provincial Division of Health travelled today to Bikoro to strengthen coordination and investigations.

"We know that addressing this outbreak will require a comprehensive and coordinated response". The organization released $1 million from a Contingency Fund for Emergencies in order to help stop the spread.

Many health facilities in the region rely on worldwide assistance for both services and supplies.

The WHO described the outbreak as "a public health crisis of global importance".

The global health organisation says it has released $1m (£738,000) from an emergency fund and has deployed more than 50 experts to work with officials in the DR Congo.

The last outbreak in the country saw teams of World Health Organization experts, including epidemiologists, biologists and hygiene specialists, dispatched to the country's north-east.

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