WHO vows to fight new Ebola outbreak in DR Congo

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The World Health Organisation has vowed to fight the latest Ebola outbreak with the same determination as it fought the last one.

Four new cases of the virus have been confirmed in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), just a week after an outbreak in the country’s northwest was declared to be over.

The news has prompted the WHO to start moving staff and supplies to the area.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general, said Ebola was a “constant threat” in the African country.

He added: “What adds to our confidence in the country’s ability to respond is the transparency they have displayed once again.

“Working closely with the ministry of health and partners, we will fight this one as we did the last.”

Director-General of WHO (World Health Organization) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus  WHO vows to fight new Ebola outbreak in DR Congo skynews tedors ebola congo 4377897
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Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says WHO is ready to fight another Ebola outbreak

On Saturday, the health division in North Kivu reported 26 cases of haemorrhagic fever, including 20 deaths in North Kivu province.

The new cases are in Mangina, in the eastern Mabalako zone, which is near the Ugandan border and about 18 miles west of Beni, a city of more than 230,000 people.

Congolese health workers check the temperature of passengers disembarking from a Congo Airways plane in Mbandaka, Democratic Republic of Congo May 19, 2018  WHO vows to fight new Ebola outbreak in DR Congo skynews mbandaka congo ebola 4377898
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Congolese health workers check passengers leaving a plane in May

Last month’s outbreak was in the northwest Equateur province, killing 33 people.

The area of that outbreak and the current one are very different – health workers will now be preparing to work in the much more volatile part of the country.

Dozens of rebel groups have been battling each other for control of land, which is rich with minerals.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK advises against all travel for most of the country’s eastern provinces.

But the DRC’s health ministry has promised security for the workers and those they are trying to help.

A health worker sprays a visitor with chlorine after leaving the isolation facility, prepared to receive suspected Ebola cases, at the Mbandaka General Hospital, in Mbandaka, Democratic Republic of Congo May 20, 2018  WHO vows to fight new Ebola outbreak in DR Congo skynews congo ebola mbandaka 4377899
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A health worker sprays a visitor with chlorine during the last outbreak in Mbandaka

Ebola was first discovered in DRC (then known as Zaire) in 1976, jumping to humans from animals including bats and monkeys.

It is spread through contact with bodily fluids of sufferers, including the dead.

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The worst outbreak spanned Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone beginning in 2014. That left more than 11,300 people dead.

Congo’s health minister Dr Oly Ilunga Kalenga said: “Although we did not expect to face a tenth epidemic so early, the detection of the virus is an indicator of the proper functioning of the surveillance system.”



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