Response to Congo's new Ebola outbreak 'highly complex'

Response to Congo's new Ebola outbreak 'highly complex'

The World Health Organisation has mobilised an emergency response team after the Congolese government confirmed that Ebola had struck North Kivu province, an eastern region notorious for its instability.

Dr. Fatoumata Nafo-Traore, regional director for Africa, says the proximity to a city of more than 230,000 people and an worldwide border also complicates the response.

Four people have tested positive for Ebola in and around Mangina, a town of about 60,000 people in North Kivu province, 100 km (62 miles) from the Ugandan border, the health ministry said. The health ministry is investigating reports of viral hemorrhagic fever.

A new Ebola outbreak was reported Wednesday in the Democratic Republic of Congo, days after a previous outbreak there was declared to be over.

World Health Organization says this new outbreak in North Kivu province is 2,500 kilometers away from Equateur Province, the site of the previous outbreak, and there is no link between the two.

Twelve health ministry experts would be sent to Beni on Thursday to help oversee the response to the outbreak, Ilunga added.

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Ebola was first identified in the Congo in 1976. Travel into and out of the village has been blocked.

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 worldwide border". "This is an active conflict zone".

Transmission among humans then typically spreads through close contact with the blood, body fluids, secretions or organs of someone who is sick with Ebola or has recently died.

The region is near the heavily trafficked border with Uganda and Rwanda and two of Africa's best-known wildlife parks, Virunga and Rwenzori.

None of Congo's outbreaks were connected to the massive one in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone that began in 2014 and left more than 11,300 dead. "This outbreak comes at a time when the country is already unstable, with millions of people caught up in humanitarian crises as a result of ongoing conflicts".

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