Two cases of Ebola confirmed in Democratic Republic of Congo

Two cases of Ebola confirmed in Democratic Republic of Congo

Two cases of Ebola confirmed in Democratic Republic of Congo

Ebola is endemic to the Democratic Republic of Congo, and this is its ninth outbreak of Ebola virus disease since the discovery of the virus in the country in 1976.

Ebola has returned to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the country where the disease was first discovered.

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Before the outbreak was confirmed, local health officials reported 21 patients showing signs of haemorrhagic fever around the village of Ikoko Impenge. It can be spread through direct contact with another person's blood or body fluids which includes urine, saliva, sweat, feces, vomit, breast milk, and semen, objects that have come in contact with body fluids from an infected person, infected fruit bats and primates, and possibly contact with semen from a man who recovered from Ebola.

"Our top priority is to get to Bikoro to work alongside the government " the WHO's Peter Salama said in a statement.

A team of experts from the WHO, Doctors without Borders (DRC) and Equateur province travelled to Bikoro on Tuesday to beef up coordination and carry out investigations, it said.

"We know that addressing this outbreak will require a comprehensive and coordinated response".

Hoping to stop the spread of Ebola to surrounding provinces and countries, the World Health Organization also released $1 million from a contingency fund to support its activities for the next three months.

Health facilities in Bikoro are basic and heavily reliant on global organisations for supplies.

"WHO is closely working with other partners, including Médecins Sans Frontières, to ensure a strong, response to support the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to prevent and control the spreading of the disease from the epicentre of iIkoko Iponge Health Zone to save lives", said Dr Allarangar Yokouide, WHO Representative in the DRC.

The WHO described the outbreak as "a public health crisis of global importance".

"We still dispose of the well trained human resources that were able to rapidly control previous epidemics". It said the first teams of experts, including epidemiologists, biologists and hygiene specialists had been dispatched and were due to arrive in the affected region by Friday or Saturday.

The worldwide health organisation said it released US$1 million (NZ$1.4 million) from an emergency fund and deployed more than 50 experts to work with officials in the country.

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