The Democratic Republic of Congo said as many as 13 people have died of Ebola in the nation’s first outbreak in two years. The cases are unrelated to the those being reported in four West African nations.
Laboratory tests in two cases were positive for Ebola in the remote village of Gera in the northern Equateur province, Information Minister Lambert Mendesaid by phone today. The 11 other deaths are suspected of being Ebola. One of the dead was a doctor and four were nurses, Mende said.
“We’ve put that under quarantine,” Mende said. “No one will enter, no will leave.”
Ebola has killed at least 1,300 people in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and Nigeria since December. The viral disease, which has no known cure or vaccine, was first reported in 1976 in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan. Since then, the country has had four other outbreaks of the viral disease, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
As well as erecting a treatment center in Gera, Congo’s government has set up a committee including international medical organizations to coordinate a response to the outbreak, Mende said. Congo also banned hunting in the area, Mende said. The disease is believed to reside in fruit bats, who can infect humans through bodily secretions. Humans pass it on through contact with infected bodily fluids.
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