Two confirmed cases in new outbreak of Ebola in Congo

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The global health organisation says it has released $1m (£738,000) from an emergency fund and has deployed more than 50 experts to work with officials in the DR Congo.

Of samples collected from five sick patients and sent to the national biomedical research laboratory in Kinshasa, two were positive for Ebola virus.

At least 17 deaths in the region over the past five weeks are suspected to be linked to the outbreak, but have not been confirmed as Ebola cases.

While so far the outbreak is contained to a small village named Ikoko Impenge, near the town of Bikoro, officials worry that because of the village's close proximity to the Congo River, the disease may still spread.

World Health Organization said it would adopt the strategy it successfully deployed following a similar Ebola outbreak in 2017, which included a timely alert by local authorities when new cases surface. The virus is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission. About half of those who contract Ebola die from it.

The deadly virus was first discovered in the DRC in the 1970s.

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WHO is working closely with the Government of the DRC to rapidly scale up its operations and mobilize health partners using the model of a successful response to a similar EVD outbreak in 2017.

He became the first person to test positive for the disease on US soil and later died in Dallas.

None of these outbreaks was connected to the massive outbreak in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone that began in 2014 and left more than 11,300 dead.

Peter Salama, MBBS, MPH, WHO deputy director-general for emergency preparedness and response, said in the statement that the top priority is to get to Bikoro to work with the DRC government and its partners to reduce deaths and illnesses related to the new Ebola outbreak.

The Ikoko Impenge health facility, about 30 kilometres from Bikoro, has limited capabilities, relying on worldwide organisations, WHO said. Symptoms of the virus include fever, severe headache, muscle pain, unexplained hemorrhage (bleeding or bruising), abdominal pain, vomiting, fatigue, and diarrhea, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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