33 reported dead in Congo Ebola outbreak

Ebola medic

Eastern Congo Ebola outbreak has killed 33: Health ministry

An Ebola outbreak in Congo has been confirmed as the Zaire strain of the virus and vaccinations of health workers may start as early as Wednesday, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday.

The acting director of Health Services Dr Henry Mwebesa on Monday issued a notice directing all district health officers in the country to be vigilant.

"Twelve teams of vaccinators will be deployed in different affected areas", the ministry said, adding that teams had arrived in Beni.

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A World Health Organization worker administers a vaccination during the launch of a campaign aimed at beating an outbreak of Ebola in the port city of Mbandaka, Democratic Republic of Congo, on 21 May 2018.

More than 3,000 doses remain in stock in the capital Kinshasa, allowing authorities to quickly deploy it to the affected areas near the Ugandan border.

"In total, 43 cases of haemorrhagic fever have been reported in the region, including 16 confirmed and 27 probable, and 31 suspected cases are under investigation", the ministry said.

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Heavily traveled borders nearby with Uganda and Rwanda also complicate efforts to contain the disease, which is spread via contact with the bodily fluids of those infected, including the dead.

Oly Ilunga Kalenga says in a statement that at least four Ebola deaths are confirmed.

North Kivu province is home to more than 1 million people displaced people amid fighting between the government and militant groups.

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Nearly 1000 people who have had "contact" with the virus have been registered in health zones under surveillance, it said. Ebola, first identified in the country in 1976, jumps to humans from animals including bats and monkeys.

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