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Ebola death reported in Democratic Republic of Congo

13 May 2017

A World Health Organisation spokesperson later said that the person infected with Ebola had died.

The DRC's ministry of health said it is tracing contacts of the infected patients and the WHO urged organizations such as Doctors Without Borders to get involved.

In 2014, a three-month outbreak of Ebola in the the DR Congo killed 49 people.

In 2013, an Ebola crisis began in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

Ebola is a virus known to circulate in populations of chimpanzees, gorillas, fruit bats, and a few other animals in the rainforests of West and Central Africa. If can spread quickly among people if its not contained and 90 percent of cases are fatal.

"We always take this very seriously", Congo's health department spokesman Eric Kabambi was quoted by Reuters as saying.

The outbreak is not linked to previous Ebola flare-ups in Congo, nor the one that tore through West Africa in 2014, killing more than 11,000 people, said Tarik Jasarevic, a World Health Organization spokesman.

Prior to the new Ebola case, the Canadian government already had an advisory warning against all non-essential travel to the Democratic Republic of Congo "because of the current political and security situation".

"It is imperative that the United States and other countries be able to catch and respond to outbreaks at any time and we must be sure we're doing everything to prevent diseases from entering and spreading in the USA", said Duchin, an allergy and infectious diseases professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Washington's School of Public Health in Seattle.

The WHO is now deploying health care workers to manage the outbreak and do surveillance to track it.

The Ebola virus disease was first identified in the DRC in 1976, and since then, a total of nine outbreaks have occurred in the country.

The WHO said specialist teams were headed for the area and hoped to arrive within 48 hours. Clinical trials have shown the vaccine to be very protective against Ebola-Zaire. So it is likely to decrease as the vaccine is used over time. The most recent recorded epidemic was in August 2014 in Boende region, where the disease was brought under control where it started in Lokolia, now in Tshuapa province.