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New Ebola cases in DR Congo

25th September 2007

Authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo are trying to contain an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus, reporting a further nine deaths in recent days.


The virus, which causes high temperature, bloody stools and haemorrhaging from all orifices, was first confirmed in the West Kasai region of the country in April.

At least 174 people have died in the outbreak so far.

The Paris-based humanitarian group, Medicins Sans Frontieres, has reinforced its medical personnel and has flown supplies including tents and plastic sheeting to build isolation facilities to the area. Medicines, water and sanitation materials were also being sent, the group said.

A limited number of kits were available for medical teams, including protective gloves, boots and uniforms intended to be destroyed after use.

Local health authorities are helping to disinfect contaminated areas.

Ebola, which has a mortality rate of around 80%, occurs mostly around the rainforests of the African continent and in areas of the Western Pacific. Four main types of the virus have so far been identified.

The virus, which has an incubation period of two to 21 days, is transmitted by direct contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected persons, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The infection of human cases with Ebola virus has been documented through the handling of infected chimpanzees, gorillas, and forest antelopes--both dead and alive--as was documented in Côte d'Ivoire, the Republic of Congo and Gabon.

The WHO warns that healthcare workers have frequently been infected while treating Ebola patients, usually because of a lack of correct infection control measures.

It says burial ceremonies where mourners have direct contact with the body of the deceased person can also play a significant role in the transmission of Ebola.   

DR Congo's last major Ebola outbreak killed more than 200 people in 1995 in Kikwit, about 400km (250 miles) west of the current outbreak.


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Article Information

Title: New Ebola cases in DR Congo
Author: Luisetta Mudie
Article Id: 4182
Date Added: 25th Sep 2007


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