DR Congo hit by EBOLA OUTBREAK as authorities call for calm

A health worker was sprayed with chlorine after visiting the isolation ward at Bikoro hospital in May

The 20 died in and around Mangina, a densely populated town in North Kivu province about 30 km (18 miles) southwest of the city of Beni and 100 km from the Ugandan border.

Vianney said this was the first time Ebola had been declared in the area and "our people don't know how to protect themselves".

Oly Ilunga, MD, of the DRC's health minister, took to Twitter today to announce the cases, which are centered around Beni in the Magina health district. "Although we did not expect to face a 10th epidemic so early, the detection of the virus is an indicator of the proper functioning of the surveillance system", a DRC Ministry of Health communique said.

Congo on July 24 declared the end of an Ebola outbreak that began in May in northwest Equateur province.

"We really need to get into the area to do epidemiological investigations, try to find cases, try to work with health workers, to strengthen infection prevention and control measures and also to start with the contact tracing", he said.

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Four of six samples sent for analysis to the National Institute of Biological Research in Kinshasa, the capital, came back positive for Ebola, the ministry said.

The DRC said there was no evidence to suggest the new outbreak was connected to the previous event, which resulted in 54 confirmed illnesses, 33 of them fatal.

"This new cluster is occurring in an environment which is very different from where we were operating in the northwest", said Peter Salama, MD, WHO Deputy Director-General, Emergency Preparedness and Response.

In the worst outbreak of Ebola, the disease struck the West African states of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone in 2013-2015, killing more than 11,300 people. "Beni has been deeply unstable for the past few years due to armed conflict and Ebola poses a serious risk to communities already on the edge, and threatens our ability to help them", Jose Barahona, the charity organization Oxfam's country director for DRC, tells The Guardian. "This is an active conflict zone".

This is the central African country's tenth outbreak of Ebola since 1976, when the virus was discovered near the eponymous river in the north.

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