Seventeen deaths reported in Congo as Ebola confirmed

Kenny Tucker
May 9, 2018

The virus, which can cause multiple organ failures, is passed human-to-human by contact through the mouth, nose, or broken skin with blood or other bodily fluids of those infected. Ebola is fatal in about 50 per cent of cases.

Two of those samples tested positive for the Zaire strain of the Ebola virus, the ministry said. So far, a total of 17 deaths have been confirmed after 21 patients initially showed symptoms of hemorrhagic fever.

The most recent outbreak was in May 2017 that killed four of the eight people infected in Congo's Bas-Uele province in the northeast.

There are two confirmed cases of the virus and 17 deaths, Congo's health ministry said on Tuesday.

"Working with partners and responding early and in a co-ordinated way will be vital to containing this deadly disease".

The World Health Organization said the country's health ministry uncovered the cases in Bikoro, which is located in the northwestern part of the country.

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Doctors Without Borders is one of the organizations who will assist the WHO, and the response will be modelled after the methods used in a 2017 Ebola outbreak that occurred in another DRC province.

The first multidisciplinary team comprised of experts from WHO, Médecins Sans Frontières and Provincial Division of Health travelled today to Bikoro to strengthen coordination and investigations.

The WHO Regional Director for African, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, said, "We know that addressing this outbreak will require a comprehensive and coordinated response". The cases were reported from Ilkoko Iponge health facility, about 18 miles from the town of Bikoro (see Google map below), which has very limited health facilities and few supplies. "WHO will work carefully with well being authorities and companions to help the nationwide response".

Peter Salama, MBBS, MPH, WHO deputy director-general for emergency preparedness and response, said in the statement that the top priority is to get to Bikoro to work with the DRC government and its partners to reduce deaths and illnesses related to the new Ebola outbreak. "WHO plans to deploy epidemiologists, logisticians, clinicians, infection prevention and control experts, risk communications experts and vaccination support teams in the coming days".

The global health organisation said it released US$1 million (NZ$1.4 million) from an emergency fund and deployed more than 50 experts to work with officials in the country.

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