Congo Announces 11 New Confirmed Ebola Cases

12 2018 health workers don protective clothing as they prepare to attend to patients in the isolation ward to diagnose and treat suspected Ebola patients at Bikoro Hospital in Bikoro the rural area where the Ebola out

Congo's Ebola risk 'very high' as confirmed virus cases rise

An outbreak of Ebola in remote Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has spread to a city, health watchdogs said Thursday, sharpening fears that the deadly virus now posed a regional threat.

"We are entering a new phase of the Ebola outbreak that is now affecting three health zones, including an urban health zone", Ilunga said, adding he was anxious because Mbandaka is densely populated and at the crossroads of Equateur province.

The WHO is also deploying 30 experts to Mbandaka to "conduct surveillance in the city and is working with the Ministry of Health and partners to engage with communities on prevention and treatment and the reporting of new cases".

Peter Salama, in charge of emergency response at the World Health Organization, said the spread to a city complicated the fight against Ebola, which depends on identifying and isolating suspected cases.

In Mbandaka and Bikoro, 514 people who may have been in contact with infected people have been notified by national health authorities and are being monitored, according to MSF. So far, Congolese medics have identified 44 suspected cases of Ebola, with three confirmed by lab tests. It said there has been one new death in Bikoro, where the Ebola outbreak was announced last week and where the first death took place. Only one of the 25 deaths actually has been confirmed by the health ministry as Ebola. "We are working closely with the Ministry of Health and the other organisations in the field to implement a coordinated, tailored and rapid response to stop the spread of Ebola". The meeting of the Emergency Committee will decide whether to declare an official public health emergency, which would trigger more global involvement and free up more resources to deal with the outbreak.

The scale of the previous outbreak forced several nations, including Russian Federation and China, to develop vaccines to Ebola. "Now that we are facing the Ebola virus we must use all the resources we have".

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There is no specific treatment for Ebola, which is spread through the bodily fluids of people exhibiting symptoms or those who have died from the disease.

"With the new case confirmed in Mbandaka, the scenario has changed", said Henry Gray, an MSF emergency coordinator in Mbandaka.

Salama said that isolation and rudimentary management facilities had been set up in Mbandaka.

Ebola is lethal and highly contagious, which makes it hard to contain - especially in urban environments where people are mobile and come into more contact with others.

Ebola, a hemorrhagic disease which is endemic to tropical regions of sub-Saharan Africa, was identified in the 1970s, but historically claimed a relatively small number of lives, despite its mortality rates reaching as high as 50 percent, as its spread between isolated villages and towns was limited.

World Health Organization has sent 4,000 doses of the experimental Ebola vaccine to Congo and said it will send thousands more in the coming days as needed. Humans can also be exposed to the virus, for example, by butchering infected animals.

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