WHO raises Ebola health risk to 'very high' in DR Congo


A total of 45 cases of hemorrhagic fever have now been reported, including 25 deaths, the health ministry said Thursday. Fourteen cases have been confirmed with laboratory tests.

The discovery of a case in Mbandaka indicates the outbreak has entered a “new phase,” the country’s health minister, Dr. Oly Ilunga Kalenga, said Wednesday.

The case was confirmed in Wangata, one of three health zones of Mbandaka, the capital of Equateur Province in northwestern Congo. Previously, infections and deaths had been limited to the rural Bikoro health zone, nearly 150 kilometers away.

The spread of the virus from rural areas into a city has raised fears it could quickly spread and become harder to control.

“This is a concerning development, but we now have better tools than ever before to combat Ebola,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO’s director-general. “WHO and our partners are taking decisive action to stop further spread of the virus.”

The organization is working with health NGO Medecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and other partners to boost the number of special isolation wards to treat patients. It’s deploying about 30 experts to conduct surveillance in the city and inform local communities on treatment and prevention methods in collaboration with the country’s Ministry of Health.

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