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Congo declares new Ebola outbreak in eastern province

05 August 2018
Congo declares new Ebola outbreak in eastern province

Four cases of the virus were confirmed in northeastern North Kivu province.

In Geneva, the World Health Organization (WHO) said most of the new cases were recorded in the district of Mangina, 30 kilometres from the city of Beni.

Twenty people have died from hemorrhagic fevers in a densely populated area near the town of Beni close to the Ugandan border, the ministry said in its statement, without saying when these occurred.

The Democratic Republic of Congo has reported an outbreak of Ebola in its conflict-torn east, killing 20 people, barely a week after it declared the end to an epidemic in the northwest of the vast country. The DRC's health ministry says there's no indication of a link between the outbreaks.

An worldwide delegation has arrived in the town of Beni in Democratic Republic of Congo, 30 km (18 miles) from where an Ebola outbreak was declared, the World Health Organisation and Congolese officials said on Thursday.

The outbreak took place fewer than 12 months on from the DRC's previous Ebola scare, in May 2017, during which eight people were infected, four of whom died.

"This new cluster is occurring in an environment which is very different from where we were operating in the north-west", said Dr Peter Salama, the WHO's deputy director general of emergency preparedness and response. Travel through the village of Mangina, where the majority of the cases are from, has been barred, according to The Washington Post. "This is an active conflict zone".

The kind of Ebola in the latest outbreak has been confirmed as the Zaire strain that the Merck vaccine protects against, Congo's health ministry said late on Thursday.

The region is near the heavily trafficked border with Uganda and Rwanda and two of Africa's best-known wildlife parks, Virunga and Rwenzori. Once present in humans, it causes haemorrhagic fever, vomiting and diarrhoea and is spread through direct contact with body fluids.

Vianney said this was the first time Ebola had been declared in the area and "our people don't know how to protect themselves".