Up to 12 people have been found infected with the Ebola virus in a new fatal disease outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the World Health Organization announced on Monday.
A week ago, authorities reported six infections in the northwestern city of Mbandaka, saying they appeared to be separate from another virus epidemic that has been raging in the east since 2018.
There have now been nine confirmed and three probable cases of the disease in and around Mbandaka, according to WHO. Six of these people died, he added.
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The city is located on the Congo River, near the border with the Republic of Congo.
Genetic sequencing of the virus by the Congo’s biomedical research laboratory has shown that the new epidemic has probably started as a “contagion event”, a transmission from an infected animal, according to research published on virological.org, a forum on molecular evolution and epidemiology.
In a situation report, WHO said that 300 people in Mbandaka and the surrounding Ecuadorian province had been vaccinated – a tool used by health workers to control the epidemic in the east of the country, which has not not seen new infections since April 27.
Mbandaka suffered a small Ebola outbreak in 2018 that killed 33 people. Health officials say that rapid vaccinations and containment efforts, including mobile hand washing stations and a door-to-door education campaign, have kept him at bay.
New cases in Mbandaka mark the eleventh Ebola epidemic in the country since the virus was discovered near the Ebola river in northern Congo in 1976. This is the third Congo epidemic in two years of the virus. causes vomiting, diarrhea and external bleeding.
The new posterior outbreak likely came from an infected animal, which first appeared on NBC News.