News / Africa

Suspected Ebola Fever Surfaces in DRC

Colorized transmission electron micrograph (TEM) reveals some of the form, structure of an Ebola virus (undated file image).
Colorized transmission electron micrograph (TEM) reveals some of the form, structure of an Ebola virus (undated file image).
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Nick Long
— The United Nations is reporting a suspected outbreak of Ebola fever in the north of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The suspected cases have been found in the Mongo health zone in Aketi territory, about 200 kilometers from the border with the Central African Republic and about 700 kilometers from the Ugandan border.

The news was announced Wednesday by the U.N.'s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). 

"Six suspected cases of Ebola fever were reported in Mongo Health district between May 1 and May 12, and with help of the World Health Organization, a medical team has been sent to Mongo to investigate and take blood samples," explained Sylvestre Ntumba, OCHA’s spokesman in Kinshasa.

The test results are not yet known.

There was an outbreak of Ebola in Uganda last July that killed 16 people in one month, and a month later the disease was detected in the DRC.

"The DRC declared an epidemic of Ebola last August and the epidemic ended officially in November.  During that time there 62 cases reported in DRC, and 34 deaths.  The epicenter of the outbreak was at Isiro, about 240 kilometers east of Mongo," said  Ntumba.

There is no vaccine or other cure for Ebola, which can be fatal in most cases.  It can be transmitted via blood, sweat and other bodily fluids, through sexual contact and through unprotected contact with contaminated corpses.

The main symptoms are high temperature followed by muscular pains, vomiting and diarrhea.  The authorities organized an awareness campaign during the last outbreak and warned that the danger was not over even after the epidemic was declared to have ended.

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