Congo-Kinshasa: Latest Ebola Outbreak Poses High Regional Risk, Says WHO

JUNIOR D. KANNAH via Getty Images

JUNIOR D. KANNAH via Getty Images

WHO's emergency response chief Peter Salama said seven of the woman's immediate family later also died from Ebola-like symptoms, and potential cases were now being traced in 10 localities. Another 20 people died from unidentified hemorrhagic fevers in July.

Four people have tested positive for Ebola in and around Mangina, a town of about 60,000 people in North Kivu province, some 100 km (60 miles) from the Ugandan border. The swift vaccinations of more than 3,300 people helped in containing that outbreak.

The outbreak on the western side of the country in June, infected dozens, and led to 33 deaths, but despite several cases appearing in a major city on the Congo River, it was fully contained after a massive worldwide and national response.

The organization's emergency response chief, Peter Salama, expressed concern about the regional risks this outbreak could pose - given the pattern of its spread and its closeness to global frontiers.

Officials say it is not yet clear whether the two Congo outbreaks are linked.

Congo has dealt with Ebola for decades and this is its tenth outbreak of the virus. "She had fever, vomiting, bloody nose and bloody diarrhoea as her final set of symptoms". He says identifying the type of Ebola virus that is circulating is a priority, as that will tell scientists whether the vaccine used to help contain the outbreak in Equateur province can also be used in North Kivu.

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Jasarevic says World Health Organization will work with these neighboring countries to try to prevent the virus from crossing over.

This latest outbreak poses various challenges for the WHO.

The WHO has confirmed that the latest strain is the Zaire strain, which is what the Merck vaccine targets as per Congo's health ministry.

This should allow health officials to again use what has become the greatest weapon against Ebola epidemics to date.

The same recipe for success is required in North Kivu, but for now health workers do not know what level of access they will have to those affected, given the number of armed groups controlling different areas. The average case fatality rate of the Ebola virus as stated by the World Health Organisation is 50%. The province shares borders with Rwanda and Uganda, with a lot of cross border movement due to brisk trade.

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