Two cases of Ebola confirmed in Democratic Republic of Congo

Two cases of Ebola confirmed in Democratic Republic of Congo

Two cases of Ebola confirmed in Democratic Republic of Congo

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) today declared a new Ebola virus outbreak in a northwestern province, with two confirmed cases so far, coming nearly a year since the country's last outbreak began in a different remote location.

Symptoms of the virus include fever, severe headache, muscle pain, unexplained hemorrhage (bleeding or bruising), abdominal pain, vomiting, fatigue, and diarrhea, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The new Ebola cases were identified on Tuesday in a remote area of the country's north-west, near the town of Bikoro, near the Congo River, by Government scientists there.

This post was syndicated from Ngyab.

"WHO is closely working with other partners, including Médecins Sans Frontières, to ensure a strong, response to support the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to prevent and control the spreading of the disease from the epicentre of iIkoko Iponge Health Zone to save lives", said Dr Allarangar Yokouide, WHO Representative in the DRC.

It is caused by a virus that has a natural reservoir in the bat, which does not itself fall ill, but can pass the microbe on to humans who hunt it for "bushmeat". Medical teams from the World Health Organization and Doctors Without Borders took five samples from suspected active cases, two of which returned positive for the Zaire strain of the Ebola virus. "Working with partners and responding early and in a coordinated way will be vital to containing this deadly disease", he said.

A team of experts will go to Bikoro on Wednesday to implement measures to avoid further spread of the disease, said the ministry statement.

It said it had released $1 million (840,000 euros) from an emergency contingency fund, set up a coordination group and deployed more than 50 experts to work with the DRC government and health agencies. "WHO will work carefully with well being authorities and companions to help the nationwide response".

Bikoro is situated on the shores of Lake Tumba near the border with the Republic of the Congo.

Ebola is endemic to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Health facilities in Bikoro have very limited functionality, and rely on worldwide organizations to provide supplies that frequently stock out.

Health officials took samples from five suspected Ebola cases in Bikoro, in Equateur Province, to be tested at the Institut National de Recherche Biomedicale in the capital, Kinshasa, it added.

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