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14 confirmed Ebola cases in Congo as emergency meeting held

AP  |  Kinshasa 

There are now 14 confirmed cases in Congo's latest outbreak as officials rush to contain the often deadly virus in a city of more than 1 million.

Vast, impoverished has contained several past outbreaks but the spread of the hemorrhagic fever to an urban area poses a major challenge. The city of Mbandaka, which has one confirmed case, is an hour's flight from the capital, Kinshasa, and is located on the River, a

The World Organization was holding an emergency meeting today. It now calls the risk to the public in "very high" and the regional risk "high." It says no international are in place. The and are nearby.

"This is a major, major game-changer in the outbreak," Dr Peter Salama, WHO's emergency response chief, warned yesterday after the first urban case was announced. "Urban Ebola can result in an exponential increase in cases in a way that rural Ebola struggles to do."

The outbreak tests the new experimental Ebola vaccine, which proved highly effective in the outbreak a few years ago. More than 4,000 doses have arrived in Congo this week, with more on the way. One challenge will be keeping the vaccine cold in a region with poor infrastructure and

Just one Ebola death in this current outbreak has been confirmed so far. Congo's ministry yesterday said the total number of cases is 45, including 10 suspected and 21 probable ones.

The health ministry said two new deaths have been tied to the cases, including one in a suburb of The other was in Bikoro, the rural area where the outbreak was announced last week. It is about 150 kilometres from

Until now, the outbreak had been confined to remote rural areas, where Ebola, which is spread via contact with bodily fluids of those infected, travels more slowly.

said 514 people believed to have been in contact with infected people were being monitored. WHO said it was deploying about 30 more experts to

This is the ninth Ebola outbreak in Congo since 1976, when the disease was first identified. The virus is initially transmitted to people from wild animals, including bats and monkeys.

There is no specific treatment for Ebola. Symptoms include fever, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle pain and at times internal and external bleeding. The virus can be fatal in up to 90 per cent of cases, depending on the strain.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, May 18 2018. 15:25 IST
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