World Health Organization reports new Ebola case in DR Congo

This comes days after the first confirmed death in the Democratic Republic of Congo which also has 11 known sufferers (a health worker

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The Democratic Republic of Congo and United Nations agencies began deploying emergency teams of specialists over the weekend to try to prevent the spread of an Ebola epidemic suspected to have infected more than 30 people, they said on Sunday.

It brings to 35 the number of reported cases, including two confirmed, according to the World Health Organization tally.

After meeting with DR Congo President Joseph Kabila in Kinshasa, the WHO chief praised "the government's very strong leadership" in responding to the health crisis and its "good coordination" with partners such as Unicef and Doctors without Borders (MSF). She added that two of those contacts had got to the provincial capital, Mbandaka.

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As of Sunday, a total of 39 Ebola cases have been reported in the DRC in the past five weeks, including 18 deaths, according to the WHO. "Work is under way to determine the beginning of this epidemic".

The worst-ever Ebola outbreak started in December 2013 in southern Guinea before spreading to two neighbouring west African countries, Liberia and Sierra Leone, killing more than 11 300 people out of almost 29,000 registered cases.

The WHO was criticised for bungling its response to that epidemic, and so has moved quickly.

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It is the ninth time Ebola has been recorded in the central African nation, whose eastern Ebola river gave the deadly virus its name when it was discovered there in the 1970s, and comes less than a year after its last outbreak which killed eight people.

The disease - most feared for the internal and external bleeding it can cause in its victims owing to damage done to blood vessels - has already spread to three locations covering 60 km (37 miles) or more in Equateur province.

The WHO said on Friday it hoped to deploy an experimental Ebola vaccine to tackle an outbreak.

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A health worker is sprayed with chlorine after visiting the isolation ward at Bikoro hospital, which received a new suspected Ebola case, in Bikoro, Democratic Republic of Congo May 12, 2018.

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