DR Congo declares 4 new Ebola outbreak in eastern province

A health worker was sprayed with chlorine after visiting the isolation ward at Bikoro hospital in May

A health worker was sprayed with chlorine after visiting the isolation ward at Bikoro hospital in May

Dr. Fatoumata Nafo-Traore, regional director for Africa, says the proximity to a city of more than 230,000 people and an global border also complicates the response.

20 people have died in the Democratic Republic of Congo after showing symptoms of haemorrhagic fever.

The Democratic Republic of Congo has reported an outbreak of Ebola in its conflict-torn east, killing 20 people, barely a week after it declared the end to an epidemic in the northwest of the vast country.

The ministry said there was no evidence linking this outbreak with the last one, which began in April and occurred over 2,500 km (1,553 miles) away.

The response to Congo's previous outbreak was considered a success despite the 33 deaths, as the use of a vaccine made by Merck helped contain the virus.

Global efforts to contain a fresh outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo could be thwarted by chronic violence in the region where the virus has been reported, health experts are warning. Fortunately, equipment and responders to the earlier outbreak are still in DRC.

The government informed World Health Organization that four out of six samples tested positive for Ebola virus at the Institut National de Recherche Biomédicale (INRB) in Kinshasa but that further testing was ongoing.

Travel into and out of the Mangina has been blocked.

Researchers have not yet identified the particular strain of ebola causing the new outbreak. This time in North Kivu province. "The major barrier will be safely accessing the affected population", Peter Salama, WHO Deputy Director-General of emergency preparedness and response, said in a statement. A highly infective virus, it can be spread via contact with animals or the bodily fluids of the infected - including the dead. Beni has been the site of intense fighting in recent decades, and between 2014 and 2016, more than 800 people were killed in the area, many of them by machete.

Jeremy Konyndyk, an aid expert at the Center for Global Development, said other recent Ebola outbreaks had fortunately been in relatively safe and stable areas.

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