Health Care

Congo announces 4 new Ebola cases in country's northeast

Congo announces 4 new Ebola cases in country's northeast”

The Ministry of Health noted that therapeutic treatments are still in country from the last outbreak, but the species of this Ebola virus has yet to be determined. The National Institute of Biomedical Research in Kinshasa confirmed that samples from four hospitalized patients tested positive for Ebola.

"Although we did not expect to face a tenth epidemic so early, the detection of the virus is an indicator of the proper functioning of the surveillance system", Kalenga said.

It said in a statement late Wednesday that it still had staff and equipment in place in DR Congo after dealing with the May-July outbreak, and this would give it a "head start".

The flare-up, first detected in the rural village of Ikoko Impenge in northwest Congo in April, was dealt with rapidly by World Health Organization and Congolese authorities, including the deployment of an experimental vaccine given to over 3,300 people. Travel through the village of Mangina, where the majority of the cases are from, has been barred, according to The Washington Post.

Oly Ilunga, MD, of the DRC's health minister, took to Twitter today to announce the cases, which are centered around Beni in the Magina health district.

The outbreak comes just over a week after Congo declared the end of an outbreak in the northwest that killed 33 people.

Officials from the United Nations, the World Bank, the WHO and Congo's Ministry of Health will support a team already on the ground, the WHO said in a tweet.

The new cases are in eastern Mabalako health zone within the Beni region.

"This new cluster is occurring in an environment which is very different from where we were operating in the northwest", said Dr Peter Salama, WHO Deputy Director-General, Emergency Preparedness and Response. "The major barrier will be safely accessing the affected population". Once present in humans, it causes haemorrhagic fever, vomiting and diarrhoea and is spread through direct contact with body fluids. Beni has been the site of intense fighting in recent decades, and between 2014 and 2016, more than 800 people were killed in the area, many of them by machete.

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