DRC Ebola outbreak enters 'new phase' as it spreads to urban area

DRC Ebola outbreak enters 'new phase' as it spreads to urban area

Oly Ilunga Kalenga said a case of the virus was detected in Mbandaka, a city with a population of about 1 million people.

The Democratic Republic of Congo yesterday received thousands of Ebola vaccines after it was recently struck by the deadly disease, the health ministry has said.

According to the country's Ministry of Health, the vaccine arrived on Wednesday, after it declared the outbreak in the northwest region near Congo-Brazzaville on May 8. He said another 4,000-vaccine batch was expected soon.

This new case is linked with the epicenter of the epidemic in Equateur province, east of Lake Tumba, and it is in addition to the 42 people who have presented symptoms of hemorrhagic fever in Bikoro district-including two confirmed as Ebola, 20 probable, and 20 suspected cases.

World Health Organization spokesperson Tarik Jasarevic said the vaccine would be reserved for people suspected of coming into contact with the disease, and that a second batch of 4000 doses would be sent in coming days.

Supplies sent to Congo included more than 300 body bags for safe burials in affected communities.

He said one sample proved positive for the deadly Ebola virus, bringing to three the number of confirmed Ebola cases in three health zones. "Since the announcement of the alert in Mbandaka, our epidemiologists are working in the field to identify people who have been in contact with suspected cases".

The vaccine is complicated to use, requiring storage at a temperature between -60 and -80 degrees Celsius.

She says two cases of Ebola are confirmed, 20 are probable and 20 are suspected.

The WHO report said 1500 sets of personal protective equipment and an emergency sanitary kit sufficient for 10000 people for three months were being put in place.

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