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Ebola may be cause of 5 more deaths in Congo, UN health agency reports

Ebola may be cause of 5 more deaths in Congo, UN health agency reports

Ebola virus
Five deaths in Congo from what is believed to be the deadly ebola virus have been reported to the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO), that agency said today.

According to WHO, the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Congo has reported five deaths from six new cases of suspected acute haemorrhagic fever, in the Mbomo district of Congo's Cuvette Ouest region, on the border with Gabon.

These reports are the first received by WHO of ebola in that region since April. However 32 confirmed cases of ebola, including 20 deaths, were reported in Congo's Mbomo district prior to 29 March while in April, the Gabonese Ministry of Health confirmed 65 cases of ebola, including 53 deaths, from villages in the border region north of Mekambo. WHO reports the Gabon outbreak was traced to contact with an infected gorilla.

A team from the Ministry of Health and WHO is in the district investigating the suspected ebola outbreak and collecting samples, which will be forwarded to laboratories in Gabon for analysis. Experts from other organizations are also in the region investigating suspicious animal deaths.

Ebola, which is transmitted via direct contact with the blood or other bodily fluids of an infected person, causes death in up to 90 per cent of all cases, according to WHO. There is no specific treatment or vaccine for the disease, which is often characterized by the sudden onset of fever, weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat. This is followed by vomiting, diarrhoea, rash, limited kidney and liver functions, and both internal and external bleeding.