Congo confirms Ebola cases, more suspected

09 May, 2018, 09:20 | Author: Keith Rowe
  • Ebola outbreak confirmed in the Democratic Republic of Congo

At least 17 people have died in an area of the Democratic Republic of Congo where health officials have declared an Ebola outbreak.

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

The findings were presented by Jean Jack Muyembe, head of the national institute for biological research.

The UN health agency said it would also adopt prompt testing, immediate notification of results, and a fast overall response by local and national authorities together with worldwide partners.

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

Last week, officials in Equateur province reported more than 20 cases of hemorrhagic fever - 17 fatal - to the national government in Kinshasa, sending five clinical samples for testing. Congo's health ministry on Tuesday described the fresh outbreak as a "public health emergency with global impact".

Two nurses who cared for him contracted Ebola, but recovered. They will also look at the origin of the infection and how the outbreak began.


Ebola first emerged in 1976 in what is now the DRC, and is named after a river in the country. The team from World Health Organization and Doctors Without Borders looked at the possible causes of these fevers because several other diseases and viruses could also cause these fevers.

The latest incidence of the disease comes less than a year after the central African country's last outbreak, in which eight people were infected of whom four died.

WHO said it was working closely with Congo's government to rapidly scale up its operations and mobilise health partners as it did successfully in Congo past year.

The declaration was made after two cases of the diseases were confirmed in the Bikoro province in the northwestern part of the country ten months after the end of an earlier outbreak.

It is then passed on to other animals, such as monkeys, the bats share trees with.

"WHO is closely working with other partners, including MSF, to ensure a strong response to support the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to prevent and control the spreading of the disease from the epicentre", said Dr Allarangar Yokouide, WHO's representative in Congo.

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