Ebola strikes again in DRC

Shock Ebola outbreak in Congo - 10 new cases suspected and two confirmed

Two Ebola cases confirmed in DRC

At least 17 people have died in an area of north-western Democratic Republic of Congo where health officials confirmed an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus.

Medical teams dispatched to the zone took five samples from suspected active cases and two tested positive for the Zaire strain of the Ebola virus, the country's health ministry said in a statement.

The experts took five samples in Bikoro in the North-West of the country for laboratory analysis at the National Institute of biological studies.

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

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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.

This is the ninth outbreak of the hemorrhagic fever in Congo since 1976. WHO said in a statement that it is working with the DRC government to "rapidly scale up its operations and mobilize health partners using the model of a successful response to a similar EVD [Ebola virus disease] outbreak in 2017".

Ebola virus illness, which mostly impacts individuals and nonhuman primates (monkeys, gorillas and chimpanzees), is brought on by one among 5 Ebola viruses.

In response to the 2017 outbreak, DRC quickly alerted local authorities, began blood testing, announced the outbreak early on, and authorities responded quickly.

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A new Ebola outbreak has killed 17 people in the Democratic Republic of Congo as of May 3.

Stopping the virus from spreading further is now the top priority of the WHO.

"Working with partners and responding early and in a coordinated way will be vital to containing this deadly disease", Peter Salama, the Deputy Director-General for Emergency Preparedness and Response at World Health Organization, said on Tuesday.

Scientists believe that bats are responsible for the spread of the virus over long distances.

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WHO and local officials were able to quickly control last year's outbreak in an isolated part of the country, though the 2013-2016 swept through densely populated areas, devastating Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone and sparking a US debate about travel bans and whether to quarantine returning health workers. This would make it easier to pass on to other animals that live in trees.

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