Ebola Situation Evolves in 'Concerning' Way Overnight

City of Mbandaka now reports 3 confirmed cases, a worrisome first for Congolese urban areas
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 18, 2018 10:30 AM CDT

(Newser) – Developments in a city in the Democratic Republic of Congo have taken what one health official deems a "concerning" turn overnight. Per the Guardian, Jean-Jacques Muyembe, the head of the country's National Institute for Biomedical Research, says lab results have confirmed two additional cases of Ebola in Mbandaka; one other confirmed case, called a "major, major game-changer" by the World Health Organization, had been announced earlier this week. Muyembe didn't note whether the three patients know each other.

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CBS News reports it's the first time the Ebola virus has made its way into a Congolese urban area. The BBC notes such an outbreak in Mbandaka, a city of one million, is even more worrisome than if it took place in a more rural location, mainly due to the "potential for an explosive increase in cases," per a senior WHO official. The Ebola outbreak a few years back in West Africa killed more than 11,000 people, many of them in capital cities. Some residents of Mbandaka are alarmed. "I'm looking for a boat to leave," one tells the Guardian. "If the authorities have allowed the disease to arrive here, we all risk being killed." (An Ebola vaccine that's being fast-tracked.)

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