Medicine

Congo's health ministry confirms 3 more cases of Ebola

Congo's health ministry confirms 3 more cases of Ebola

Four more people have died from Ebola in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, two weeks after another outbreak that killed 33 people in the northwest was declared over, the Congolese health ministry has said.

The acting director of Health Services Dr Henry Mwebesa on Monday issued a notice directing all district health officers in the country to be vigilant. The strategy is the same that was used to contain the previous outbreak in Congo's Equateur province in which more than 3300 people were vaccinated.

That outbreak, which began in May, claimed 33 lives according to the World Health Organization (WHO), before being declared over last month.

That outbreak was about 2,500 km (1,553 miles) from the current outbreak.

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An additional 43 suspected cases of Ebola were reported, including 13 confirmed by lab testing, according to WHO. More than 3,000 doses remain in stock in the capital Kinshasa, allowing authorities to deploy them quickly to affected areas near the Ugandan border.

Health experts in the city closest to the new outbreak, Beni, have been setting up "cold chains" to keep the vaccines at the optimal temperature of minus 70 degrees Celsius, a challenge in a region with hot temperatures and unreliable power supplies.

Thirteen cases of the haemorrhagic fever have been confirmed, including three deaths, the ministry said in a statement, adding that suspected cases had been detected in both North Kivu and neighbouring Ituri province.

"Teams are conducting investigations on the ground to identify the contacts of the confirmed cases, including health workers", he told reporters in the town of Beni.