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Congo declares new Ebola outbreak with two cases confirmed

A team of experts will implement measures to avoid further spread of the disease.

Congo’s government has declared a new outbreak of Ebola in the country’s rural north-west, after two cases of the deadly virus were confirmed.

Congo’s health ministry said that, of the five samples sent to the National Institute of Biological Research in Kinshasa, two came back positive for the Zaire strain of Ebola in Bikoro in Equateur Province.

The samples were gathered after the Equateur Province Health Ministry notified Kinshasa on May 3 of some 21 cases of a heamorrhagic fever in the Ikoko Impenge area, including 17 deaths, according to the World Health Organisation and Congo’s government. The haemorrhagic fever could be different from Ebola.

A team was sent by the World Health Organisation and Doctors Without Borders over the weekend to investigate and strengthen coordination. The five new cases were then identified and sent to the laboratory, Congo’s government said.

Since that time, no deaths have been reported among those hospitalised or among health workers treating the ill, it said.

A team of experts will go to Bikoro on Wednesday to implement measures to avoid further spread of the disease, said the ministry statement. The team will also investigate how the outbreak first started, it said.

This is the ninth Ebola outbreak in Congo since 1976, when the deadly disease was first identified. The most recent outbreak was in May 2017 that killed four of the eight people infected in Congo’s Bas-Uele province in the north-east. That outbreak was declared over in July 2017.

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