The ninth Ebola outbreak has now been recorded in the central African nation, as officials announce the death of 17 people in an area of northwestern Democratic Republic of Congo from a new outbreak of Ebola, which has been confirmed by health officials. The country whose eastern Ebola river gave the deadly virus its name when it was discovered there in the 1970s, has now confirmed another outbreak of the virus less than a year after its last outbreak which killed eight people. Local health officials, before the outbreak was confirmed reported 21 patients showing signs of hemorrhagic fever around the village of Ikoko Impenge, near the town of Bikoro, seventeen of those later died.
The Health Ministry said in a statement; “Our country is facing another epidemic of the Ebola virus, which constitutes an international public health emergency,” . “We still dispose of the well trained human resources that were able to rapidly control previous epidemics,” “Since notification of the cases on May 3, no deaths have been reported either among the hospitalized cases or the healthcare personnel”. Medical teams supported by the World Health Organisation and medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres were sent to the zone on Saturday and took five samples from suspected active cases, two of those samples tested positive for the Zaire strain of the Ebola virus.
“Our top priority is to get to Bikoro to work alongside the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and partners to reduce the loss of life and suffering related to this new Ebola virus disease outbreak.” “Working with partners and responding early and in a coordinated way will be vital to containing this deadly disease,” said Dr Peter Salama, WHO Deputy Director-General, Emergency Preparedness and Response.
Ebola is believed to be spread over long distances by bats, which can host the virus without dying, while it infects other animals it shares trees with such as monkeys. It often spreads to humans through infected ‘bushmeat’.