Ebola outbreak spreads to DR Congo city


The latest outbreak of Ebola has spread to a large city in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, according to the country's health minister.

The country's Health Minister, Oly Ilunga Kalenga, confirmed a case in Mbandaka, a city of a million people about 130km (80 miles) from the area where the first cases were confirmed earlier this month.

Health officials have confirmed a case in the northwest city of Mbandaka, a busy river port located at the intersection of the Congo and Ruki rivers and with trade routes to the capital Kinshasa.

Congo has reported 23 deaths among the 44 suspected, probable and confirmed cases. Ebola is spread by contact with the bodily fluids of people exhibiting symptoms.

She says health experts have identified 500 contacts who are now being traced.

Before this announcement, all confirmed Ebola cases were reported in the Bikoro health zone, where health facilities are limited and affected areas are hard to reach.

In this UNICEF photograph on May 13, 2018, a health worker wears protective equipment as he looks on at Bikoro Hospital - the epicenter of the latest Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo which has sealed off a ward to diagnose and treat suspected patients.

This is the ninth Ebola outbreak in Congo since 1976. "WHO and our partners are taking decisive action to stop further spread of the virus".

The vaccine, developed by Merck and Co Inc, is still not licensed but proved effective during limited trials in West Africa in the biggest-ever outbreak of Ebola, which killed 11,300 people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone from 2014 to 2016.