Ebola: DR Congo confirms new outbreak in country's north-west

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The health ministry of the Democratic Republic of Congo announced on Tuesday that seventeen people have died from Ebola in an outbreak it called a "public health emergency with worldwide impact".

The health ministry confirmed the outbreak of Ebola on Tuesday, with two cases being confirmed by the laboratory of the National Institute of Biomedical Research (INRB).

Medical teams dispatched to the zone took five samples from suspected active cases and two tested positive for the Zaire strain of the Ebola virus, the country's health ministry said in a statement.

It said since the notification of the cases on May 3, no deaths have been reported among those hospitalized or among health personnel.

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

Ebola, discovered in 1976, is contracted by humans through contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected animals, typically fruit bats, chimpanzees, gorillas and monkeys. Other outbreaks in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea started in 2014 and killed over eleven thousand deaths in their wake.

WHO said it was working closely with Congo's government to rapidly scale up its operations and mobilise health partners as it did successfully in Congo a year ago.

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The last outbreak recorded by the country took place in May 2017 in the northern province of Bas-Uele which killed four people.

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

Ebola is one of the world's most notorious diseases, being both highly infectious and extremely lethal.

The deployment of "well-trained human resources" was made to "rapidly control" the outbreak, it said.

The global health agency said facilities in the town had to rely on worldwide organisations for fresh medical supplies.

Ebola deadly virus, that raged in some West African countries several years ago, has staged a return in northwest part of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), killing 17 people.

That is often followed by vomiting and diarrhoea, skin eruptions, kidney and liver failure, and internal and external bleeding.

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