Ebola Outbreak Kills 10 in DR Congo

Ebola and Congo
Image Handout/Reuters

The Ebola virus has killed 10 people in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the World Health Organization said on Tuesday.

The WHO said that as of Monday that the deaths were among 13 probable and two confirmed Ebola cases reported in the Orientale province located in the eastern part of the country.

The Congolese Ministry of Health has assembled a task force to control the outbreak involving the Bundibugyo strain and is working with WHO, UNICEF, Doctors Without Borders and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

There have been 12 cases and eight deaths, which included three health care workers, in Isiro, a town in Northern Congo, and one death each occurred in Congo's Pawa and Dungu regions.

Last month an outbreak of a more deadly Ebola virus strain in neighboring Uganda claimed the lives of 16 people and the DR Congo outbreak occurring in Oriental province shares a border with Uganda.

Charity organization Doctors Without Borders said that the two outbreaks may not be related, and it is not clear when exactly the deaths in Isiro occurred, according to BBC.

While the Bundibugyo strain is less fatal than the strain detected in Uganda, medical coordinator for Doctors Without Borders Anja de Weggheleire said that it was very dangerous.

"It is normally less mortal and less virulent then the one we have seen in other places... But still it stays a very dangerous and mortal disease... we expect normally figures around 25 to 35 per cent mortality," Weggheleire said, according to the BBC.

The charity said that it is taking measures to locate and isolate anyone who has been in contact with those infected.

The deadly virus is transmitted to humans from both monkeys and birds and causes massive internal bleeding and has a fatality rate of up to 90 percent. Ebola is one of the most contagious diseases in the world and spreads by close personal contact.

There is no treatment or vaccine available for the virus and symptoms of infection include a sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat followed by vomiting, diarrhea, rash, impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases both internal and external bleeding.

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