Four cases of Ebola confirmed in northeast Congo - health ministry

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Four cases of Ebola confirmed in northeast Congo - health ministry

The Director-General of WHO, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, stated this as the Government of DRC announced on Wednesday that preliminary laboratory results indicated a new cluster of cases of the deadly virus in North Kivu Province.

Twenty people have died from hemorrhagic fevers in a densely populated area near the town of Beni close to the Ugandan border, the ministry said in its statement, without saying when these occurred.

One week after celebrating the defeat of an Ebola outbreak in Équateur province, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has four new confirmed cases of the disease 2500 kilometers across the country in North Kivu province.

In Geneva, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said it still had staff and equipment in place in DR Congo after dealing with the May-July outbreak, and this would give it a "head-start".

Global experts set up a laboratory on Thursday in the city of Beni, 30 km from where the outbreak was declared, World Health Organization and Congolese officials said. There is no evidence yet suggesting the two outbreaks in the Congo are linked.

Ebola, first identified in 1976 in Congo, jumps to humans from animals including bats and monkeys.

Dr Fatoumata Nafo-Traoré, IFRC's Regional Director for Africa, said: "We anticipate an extremely challenging operational environment, given the fact that the presumptive outbreak is occurring in an area affected by conflict, and that is close to both a major population centre and an global border". The National Institute of Biomedical Research in Kinshasa confirmed that samples from four hospitalized patients tested positive for Ebola. Travel through the village of Mangina, where the majority of the cases are from, has been barred, according to The Washington Post.

Salama explained that given that North-Kivu was an active conflict zone, "the major barrier will be safely accessing the affected population". It spreads through contact with bodily fluids of those infected, including the dead.

An outbreak from 2014 to 2016 killed over 11,000 people in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. The province shares borders with Rwanda and Uganda with a great deal of cross border movement due to the trade activities.

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