World Health Organization says Congo faces "very high" risk from Ebola outbreak


Geneva - The World Health Organisation has raised its assessment of the public health risk that the Democratic Republic of Congo faces from Ebola.

The WHO will be deploying about 30 experts to scrutinise and inspect the city, is working along with the Ministry of Health and also believes in engaging with the communities to prevent and treat and report about new cases.

The outbreak, publicly declared on May 8, had previously been reported in a rural area of Equateur that lies roughly 150 kilometres (93 miles) from Mbandaka.

Kinshasa, May 18:The number of confirmed Ebola cases of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has risen to 14 after the Health Ministry announced 11 new confirmed cases and one new related death.

Eleven new confirmed cases were reported in the Republic of Congo, which is confirmed by the local Ministry of health. Fourteen of those cases are confirmed to be Ebola virus disease, 10 are suspected and 21 are probable.

"All must be done to isolate the Ebola cases, especially since there has been a case in Mbandaka city", said EU Humanitarian Aid Commissioner, Christos Stylianides.

"We are entering a new phase of the Ebola outbreak that is now affecting three health zones, including an urban health zone", Ilunga said in a statement.

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Mbandaka had three suspected cases in addition to the confirmed case. It can spread rapidly through contact with small amounts of bodily fluid, and its early flu-like symptoms are not always obvious.

On Wednesday more than 4,000 doses of an experimental vaccine sent by the World Health Organization arrived in Kinshasa with another batch expected soon. The Republic of Congo and Central African Republic are nearby.

It will be used to protect health workers and "rings" of contacts around each case.

The WHO revised its assessment of the risk of spread of the epidemic to "very high" at the national level and "high" for neighboring countries.

Ebola is thought to be spread over long distances by fruit bats and is often transmitted to humans eating contaminated bushmeat - meat from wild animals such as monkeys or antelopes. Under the supervision are already more than five hundred people.

Similarly, the European Commission has released around 1.6 million euros (1.9 million dollars) to help tackle an Ebola outbreak in Congo, as well as organising flights to transport emergency staff and equipment to the affected areas. The virus can be fatal in up to 90% of cases, depending on the strain.