Ebola kills 33 in Democratic Republic of Congo

Tuesday August 7 2018     Ebola Health ministry issues alert

Health authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo yesterday (Monday) said that they would begin Ebola vaccinations on Wednesday in the east of the country, where a new outbreak of the virus is believed to have killed 33 people.

The previous official toll was seven dead, with the two latest victims - like all the others - registered in the Beni region in North Kivu province, an eastern region with deep security problems which shares borders with Uganda and Rwanda.

Health workers in Congo have been setting up refrigerators to chill an Ebola vaccine required to handle an outbreak suspected to have infected 43 people. According to WHO the presumptive positive tests have prompted the Ministry of Health of the Democratic Republic of Congo to declare the fresh outbreak.

That outbreak more than 2,500 kilometres away had 33 confirmed Ebola deaths.

There are now 16 confirmed cases of the hemorrhagic fever, 27 probable cases and 31 suspected ones under investigation. Of the three healthcare workers who were affected, one has died.

"This is an active conflict zone".

The virus, believed to be carried long distances by bats, poses a high regional risk, World Health Organization has said, noting that Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi and South Sudan share borders with eastern Congo. Using hi tech protective gear and technology, life-threatening pathogens like the Ebola virus can be safely diagnosed and researched at centers like these.

There was a concern it would spread to Kinshasa - 364 miles (586km) south on the river, which has an worldwide airport and 12 million people residents.

North Kivu also hosts over 1 million displaced people and fighting between government forces and armed militant groups makes containing the highly infectious virus a challenge.

Despite that Ebola is never an easy illness to combat, the current outbreak is much more hard than previous ones primarily because of the location in which it appeared.

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