Ebola Outbreak Enters Worrying New Phase

First cases detected in a city in Congo
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 17, 2018 1:12 PM CDT
Ebola Outbreak Enters Worrying New Phase
A health care worker wears virus protective gear at a treatment center in Bikoro, Democratic Republic of Congo, on Sunday.   (AP Photo/John Bompengo)

(Newser) – Congo's health minister says Ebola has spread to a city, the capital of Equateur province, a worrying shift in the new outbreak in the northwest, the AP reports. Health Minister Oly Ilunga says two suspected cases of hemorrhagic fever were reported in the Wangata health zones, which includes Mbandaka city, 93 miles from Bikoro, the rural area where the outbreak began. He said one sample proved positive for the deadly Ebola virus, bringing to three the number of confirmed Ebola cases in three health zones.

Ilunga said Congo now is entering an urban phase of the outbreak, with higher spread potential. He said epidemiologists are working to identify additional contacts to the 500 already identified. Congo has reported 23 deaths among the 42 suspected, probable, and confirmed cases. The World Health Organization announced earlier this week that it is sending emergency teams and 4,000 doses of an Ebola vaccine to the country, CNN reports. The vaccine was previously found to be 100% effective in trials in Guinea. (Read more Ebola stories.)

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