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Ebola kills 31 in DR Congo

Ebola kills 31 in DR Congo
September 02
15:12 2014

Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) has killed 31 people in a remote northwestern region in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Tuesday.

Although the first case of Ebola was recorded in the country in 1976, Congo has been free of the virus since its outbreak in Guinea in February.

The death of 70 people from hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, an ailment with similar symptoms with Ebola, had created panic that the highly contagious disease had affected the country. But WHO at the time gave Congo a clean bill of health on Ebola.

However, on August 25, Felix Kabange, the country’s minister of health, confirmed that two people had tested positive to the disease.

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In an interview with AFP, Eugene Kambambi, WHO’s head of communication in DR Congo, said that although 31 people had died and about 185 were under surveillance, the virus was being contained in the country.

“There are now 31 deaths but the epidemic remains contained in an area around 800 kilometres (500 miles) north of the capital Kinshasa,” he said.

“[There are] 53 confirmed, suspected or likely cases of Ebola, while 185 people are under medical watch because they had admitted to contact with patients or were believed to have had dealings with people stricken by the highly contagious disease.”

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Kambambi said the outbreak could spread to other parts of the country because it had been confined to four medical zones around Boende, where some personnel from the WHO and Doctors Without Borders (MSF) were working with specialised epidemiologists since mid-August.

Apart from DRC, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nigeria and – lately – Senegal are the countries currently battling the scourge of the virus.

While there is no vaccine, patients can be helped through the early phases of infection, marked by severe headaches, muscle pains and dehydration because of vomiting and diarrhoea.

 

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