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UN health agency helping to contain deadly Ebola outbreak in Congo

UN health agency helping to contain deadly Ebola outbreak in Congo

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The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) is leading a joint team of health experts and clinicians rushing to control an outbreak of the Ebola virus, which has reportedly killed more than 60 people in the northwestern part of the Republic of the Congo.

The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) is leading a joint team of health experts and clinicians rushing to control an outbreak of the Ebola virus, which has reportedly killed more than 60 people in the northwestern part of the Republic of the Congo.

According to the UN agency, laboratory tests conducted late last week confirmed that a recent outbreak of haemorrhagic fever was caused by deadly Ebola, one of the most virulent diseases known to humankind. The virus, which causes death in 50 to 90 per cent of all clinically ill cases, is transmitted by direct contact with the blood, body fluids and tissues of infected persons. In past outbreaks, health workers have become sick after contact with the bodily fluids of patients they were treating.

WHO said 80 cases have been reported as of Tuesday, including 64 deaths. Most of the cases - 72 people reported ill and 59 deaths - are in the district of Kéllé.

The Congolese Government in Brazzaville requested assistance from WHO, and a joint Ministry of Health-WHO assessment team travelled from the capital to the site of the outbreak two weeks ago. The agency is providing further support from its headquarters in Geneva as well as from the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network.