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Ebola Virus Disease Outbreak Hits Democratic Republic of the Congo

14 May 2017

The first known outbreak of the deadly disease occurred there in 1976, in Yambuku.

The declaration of a new outbreak of Ebola virus disease in the DRC came after the country's health ministry officially notified the WHO of a "lab-confirmed case" of the disease from the northeast part of the country.

The last outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo was in 2014 and killed more than 40 people. "I encourage to public to work with the health authorities and take the necessary preventive measures to protect their health".

Speaking at the meeting, Dr Moeti said: "I am here to assure the government of DR Congo that in collaboration with the United Nations system and other partners, we will work together to respond to this outbreak".

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The last outbreak of Ebola in the DRC in 2014 killed at least 42 people.

"WHO and partners are completing the epidemiological investigation to better understand the extent of the current outbreak and who are potentially at risk of Ebola", World Health Organization spokesperson Tarik Jasarevic told CIDRAP News.

An outbreak of the Ebola virus has emerged in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the World Health Organization (WHO) said on 12 May. Five specimens have been tested at the country's National Biomedical Research Institute, the national reference laboratory, and one specimen was positive for Ebola virus, Zaire serotype.

"It is imperative that the United States and other countries be able to catch and respond to outbreaks at any time and we must be sure we're doing everything to prevent diseases from entering and spreading in the USA", said Duchin, an allergy and infectious diseases professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Washington's School of Public Health in Seattle.

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"The case is in a very remote zone, very forested, so we are a little lucky", WHO Spokesman Eric Kabambi told Sky News. BBC noted that the DRC has faced several outbreaks of Ebola virus disease in the past and successfully contained the spread of the infection. Various places in Africa have since sporadically experienced Ebola clusters and outbreaks.

For the first time, an experimental Ebola vaccine exists that may be used if it's needed to help contain the outbreak in the DRC.

The GAVI global vaccine alliance announced that some 300,000 emergency doses of an Ebola vaccine produced by pharmaceutical company Merck would be available in case the outbreak spreads, and that the group is ready to give the Congo government its support. "The vaccine has shown high efficacy in clinical trials and could play a vital role in protecting the most vulnerable". Whereas people, and the viruses they carry, travel fluidly between Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, rough roads impede movement in many parts of the DRC.

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