Published: Fri, May 18, 2018
Medicine | By Douglas Stevenson

New Ebola cases prompt fears virus is spreading

New Ebola cases prompt fears virus is spreading

The health agency has raised its earlier assessment after one patient in a major city was confirmed as having the disease.

The fear is if the virus reaches large urban areas, it could spread quickly, with devastating consequences.

These would be given as a priority to people in Mbandaka who had been in contact with those suspected of carrying the Ebola virus before people in any other affected area, Mr Salama said.

As of Monday, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates there have been 41 cases and 20 deaths in this latest Ebola outbreak. "We're certainly not trying to cause any panic in the national or worldwide community, [but] urban Ebola can result in an exponential increase in cases in a way that rural Ebola struggles to do".

A total of 45 cases of Ebola have now been reported in Congo in this outbreak: 14 confirmed, 21 probable and 10 suspected, the ministry said, after results from lab tests returned Thursday.

One sample proved positive for Ebola, he said.

The WHO and the global group, Doctors Without Borders, are sending emergency response teams to contain the highly contagious disease.

"We are entering a new phase of the Ebola outbreak that is now affecting three health zones, including an urban health zone", Ilunga said in a statement. One new case of Ebola virus disease has been confirmed in Mbandaka, a city with a population of about 1.2 million, World Health Organization confirmed on Thursday, raising fears that despite a rapid response by authorities, the outbreak has not been contained.

"This is a concerning development, but we now have better tools than ever before to combat Ebola", Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general, said of the new urban case.

Worldwide teams are seeking to isolate and treat anyone who may have been exposed to the virus.

WHO said health workers had identified 430 people who may have had contact with the disease and were working to trace more than 4,000 contacts of Ebola patients who had spread across north-west DR Congo.

"This outbreak is very close to the Republic of Congo and Central African Republic".

The Department of Health first reported the outbreak, the ninth the country has faced in the past four decades, on May 8. There were no cases in the Congo during that outbreak.

The WHO is sending 7,540 experimental vaccines to DRC, 4,300 of which have already arrived in the capital, Kinshasa, as part of a coordinated response to the outbreak. It will be used to protect healthworkers and "rings" of contacts around each case.

The disease caused by Ebola virus also known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever is a highly contagious acute viral disease.

The health ministry said two new deaths have been tied to the cases, including one in a suburb of Mbandaka.

On average, about 50% of people who become ill with Ebola die. The virus is transmitted to human through contact with wild animals and can then be passed from person to person.

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