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Friday 17 August 2018
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Fresh Ebola outbreak reported in Africa

WHO steps in, works with DRC to prevent spread

By Tajudeen Hamzat

A fresh outbreak of the dreaded Ebola virus has been reported in the north-west of the Democratic Republic of Congo in Central Africa, The Difference has learnt.

According to sources close to the nation’s health ministry, there are already 17 confirmed deaths being linked to the outbreak.

Critically affected is the town of Bikoro but the health authorities say that a previous outbreak about one year ago had left four casualties before it was halted.

The Ebola virus outbreak has in the past decade come to feature as one of the most dreaded causes of death on the continent particularly after it had led to the death of more than 11,000 people in 2014.

At that time, it criss-crossed the West African sub-region, with many being killed in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

Nigeria was also not spared in that outbreak though a rally from the then authorities and several international partners was able to help nip the spread in the bud.

According to the World Health Organisation, the recent outbreak declaration in the Congo was only made after detailed laboratory tests confirmed two cases of Ebola out of a sample of five suspected patients.

“Our top priority is to get to Bikoro to work alongside the government. Working with partners and responding early and in a co-ordinated way will be vital to containing this deadly disease,” the organisation expressed in a statement signed by Peter Salama.

Accordingly, the international health organisation has released $1m from its emergency fund and deployed over 50 experts in a quick response initiative to work with officials in the country to stem any possible spread of the outbreak.

Historically, Ebola was first discovered in the DRC in 1976  and the current incident is the 9th recorded outbreak. The virus is believed to be transmitted over long distances first by fruit bats and then to humans via contaminated bush-meat.

The current outbreak is its 9th-manifestation in the equally war-ravaged and conflict-ridden nation.

 

President Joseph Kabila of DRC

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