Medicine

World Health Organization says latest Ebola outbreak in DR Congo is Zaire strain

World Health Organization says latest Ebola outbreak in DR Congo is Zaire strain

Health workers in Congo were setting up refrigerators on Monday to keep cool an Ebola vaccine needed to tackle an outbreak suspected to have infected 43 people, the health ministry said.

In the DRC's last outbreak in western Equateur province, there were also "massive logistical constraints", says Mr Jašarević.

The World Health Organization has warned that this new outbreak of the deadly virus in North Kivu province poses a particular challenge as the region is a "war zone" with several active armed groups and thousands of displaced people.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has said the "deterioration of the security situation" in affected area was expected to hinder the response to the outbreak.

There are now 16 confirmed cases of the hemorrhagic fever, 27 probable cases and 31 suspected ones under investigation.

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That outbreak more than 2,500 kilometres away had 33 confirmed Ebola deaths. More than 3,000 doses remain in stock in the capital Kinshasa, allowing authorities to deploy them quickly to affected areas near the Ugandan border.

The health minister announced on Wednesday that a new epidemic was spreading around the city of Beni, in North Kivu province, barely a week after announcing the end of a previous epidemic in the north-west of the country which killed 33 people.

So far, 879 people who came into contact with Ebola patients have been identified, the ministry said.

"The cold chain for the vaccinations arrived in Beni on this sixth of August", the statement said.

There is no specific treatment, and the virus can be fatal in up to 90 percent of cases, depending on the strain.