There's an Ebola Outbreak You Don't Know About

Well-prepared Democratic Republic of Congo has nearly quashed outbreak
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 16, 2014 10:48 AM CDT
Updated Oct 19, 2014 7:00 PM CDT
Nurses from Uganda’s Ministry of Health check passengers arriving from Democratic Republic of Congo on Aug. 8, 2014.   (AP Photo/Rebecca Vassie)
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(Newser) – The Ebola outbreak in West Africa shows no signs of slowing, having killed at least 4,447. Elsewhere in Africa, however, another outbreak of the virus is quietly winding down. It's believed a different strain of Ebola first appeared in the Democratic Republic of Congo in late July: A pregnant woman who likely contracted it while butchering wild game died on Aug. 11 in the village of Ikanamongo, the Guardian reports. Though the virus spread, killing 49 of 69 known patients by the AP's count, the last known case was reported some three weeks ago. The World Health Organization is now on the verge of declaring the outbreak fully contained—thanks in part to a speedy response.

A team headed by Jean-Jacques Muyembe was first on the scene. Muyembe, who responded to the first known outbreak in the country in 1976, saw the importance of keeping the virus from spreading to urban areas—which it has now done in the West African outbreak. However, as the mostly isolated DRC has seen at least seven Ebola outbreaks since 1976 and genetic testing reveals the latest strain is 99.2% similar to one that appeared in 1995, the country was well-prepared, LiveScience reports. Before this year, an outbreak had never occurred in Guinea, Liberia, or Sierra Leone, where civil conflict, a distrust of government, and well-connected towns and cities have helped Ebola spread. (The latest Ebola news on US shores: The head of the CDC suggests the infected nurses could have worn too much protective gear.)

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