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article imageNew Ebola outbreak kills dozens in Democratic Republic of Congo

By Karen Graham     Aug 21, 2020 in Health
Mbandaka - A new outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus has infected 100 people as of Friiday, and killed 43 of them in a western province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The rapid spread of the virus has health officials concerned.
The World HealthOrganization says Democratic Republic of the Congo’s 11th Ebola virus disease outbreak was announced on June 1 after a cluster of cases was detected in Mbandaka, a city of 1 million people on the River Congo, according to Reuters.
The new outbreak started just a few weeks or so before DRC ended its worst Ebola epidemic ever recorded, in eastern North Kivu and Ituri provinces. The genetically distinct Ebola outbreak killed more than 2,200 people over two years and is not connected to the current outbreak.
Genetic sequence analysis by the DRC's National Institute of Biomedical Research (INRB) found that the new virus circulating in the Equateur Province in western DRC is different from the one which has infected more than 3400 people in the eastern part of the country.
Ebola workers in eastern DR Congo bore the brunt of militia attacks that hampered efforts to roll ba...
Ebola workers in eastern DR Congo bore the brunt of militia attacks that hampered efforts to roll back the disease
Isaac Kasamani, AFP
This new virus is also different genetically from the virus that hit this same region in 2018. An investigation is ongoing to determine the source of the new outbreak, but it is likely that it originated from an animal source,. according to a statement from WHO.
This most recent outbreak is of great concern to health officials due to the steady increase in cases over the last few weeks. There is an increased chance of an uncontrolled epidemic, reports The Hill.
The Equateur Province
Équateur Province, is located in a remote area north and east of The DRC's capital, Kinshasa. It is one of the 21 new provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo created in the 2015 repartitioning. The province consists of eight administrative subdivisions, one of which is the provincial capital, Mbandaka, and seven of which are territories.
Mbandaka is located near the confluence of the Congo and Ruki rivers. It is the capital of Équateur...
Mbandaka is located near the confluence of the Congo and Ruki rivers. It is the capital of Équateur Province.
Piet Clement at English Wikipedia.
The outbreak has spread to 11 health zones in the province, the WHO said, with cases spread across about 180 miles of jungle, making impacted villages difficult to reach. And despite ongoing efforts to educate communities in proper health practices, there remain issues with reaching full adherence of the population to some response operations (such as reporting community deaths, testing and safe and dignified burial, admission to an Ebola treatment center, or vaccination).
Perhaps the most difficult problem facing health workers is reaching the remote villages in the forests where cases have occurred, further hampering the investigation and fueling the outbreak.
DR Congo's equatorial forests are a natural reservoir for the Ebola virus, which was discovered near the Ebola River in 1976. The Ebola is the headstream of the Mongala River, a tributary of the Congo River, the second longest river in Africa.
More about Drc, ebola outbreak, World health organization, declared on June 1, natural reservoir
 
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