Ebola spreads in more cities in Congo

Ebola spreads in more cities in Congo

In this handout photograph released by UNICEF on May 13, 2018, health workers wear protective equipment as they prepare to attend to suspected Ebola patients at Bikoro Hospital - the epicenter of the latest Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo - on May 12, 2018, which has sealed off a ward to diagnose suspected Ebola patients and provide treatment.

Oly Ilunga Kalenga said a case of the virus was detected in Mbandaka, a city with a population of about 1 million people.

The WHO is anxious about the disease reaching the city of Mbandaka with a population of about 1 million people, which would make the outbreak far harder to tackle. He said epidemiologists are working to identify additional contacts to the 500 already identified.

This Ebola recurrence is the ninth DRC has faced in 4 decades after the first in 1976.

Congo has reported 23 deaths among the 44 suspected, probable and confirmed cases.

The Ministry of Health of the Democratic Republic of the Congo announced the finding, after laboratory tests conducted by the Institut National de Recherche Biomédicale (INRB) confirmed one specimen as positive for EVD.

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The announcement came just as thousands of doses of the experimental Ebola vaccine arrived in the country, with vaccinations expected to commence this coming weekend.

The first batch of over 4,000 Ebola vaccines was sent by the World Health Organization to Kinshasa on Wednesday.

Supplies sent to Congo included more than 300 body bags for safe burials in affected communities.

The 2014-16 West Africa outbreak, which killed 11,300 people, was particularly deadly because it spread to the capital cities of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

The vaccine requires storage at a temperature between -60 and -80 degrees C, tricky in a country with unreliable electricity.

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