Ebola outbreak in Congo reaches urban area
by Onize Ohikere
Posted 5/17/18, 11:17 am
Health officials in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Thursday said the latest Ebola outbreak has reached a northwestern city populated with more than 1 million people. Congolese Health Minister Oly Ilunga said health officials confirmed one case of the virus in Wangata, one of three health zones in the city of Mbandaka. The city is about 93 miles from Bikoro, where officials first announced the outbreak last week. Ilunga said the development was especially worrisome since Mbandaka is densely populated and located at the crossroads of the Equateur province. “Since the announcement of the alert in Mbandaka, our epidemiologists are working in the field with community relays to identify people who have been in contact with suspected cases,” Ilunga said. Since Tuesday, the country has seen three confirmed Ebola cases, 20 probable ones, and 21 suspected cases. Some 23 people have died since the outbreak. The World Health Organization in a statement called the latest update a “concerning development” and said it deployed 30 experts to conduct surveillance in the city. WHO earlier sent 4,000 doses of experimental vaccines to Congo and said it would send more as needed. The latest Ebola outbreak is the ninth the country has faced since 1976.
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Onize is a reporter for WORLD Digital based in Abuja, Nigeria.