Nine confirmed dead in DR Congo's Ebola outbreak: ministry

Ebola virus

Congo's health ministry has said the new vaccination campaign will target health care providers, contacts of confirmed Ebola cases and their contacts, the same strategy that was used to contain the previous outbreak in Equateur province in which more than 3,300 people were vaccinated.

World Health Organization had said that 3 000 doses of the vaccine are still in Congo's capital, and that it can access up to 300 000 more on short notice.

The central African country has dealt with Ebola for decades and this is its tenth outbreak of the virus.

There is no specific treatment, and the virus can be fatal in up to 90 percent of cases, depending on the strain.

At least four Ebola deaths are confirmed in the new outbreak, Health Minister Dr Oly Ilunga Kalenga said in a statement. "This is why it has been a priority to move them rapidly into place to begin protecting our health workers and the affected population". The region has been experiencing intense insecurity and a worsening humanitarian crisis, with over one million internally displaced people and a continuous outflow of refugees to neighboring countries, including Uganda, Burundi and Tanzania.

The Democratic Republic of Congo on August 1, 2018 reported an outbreak of Ebola in the east of the vast country, barely a week after it had declared the end to an outbreak in the northwest.

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The virus which is transmitted by bats was first discovered in DRC in 1976 and named after the Ebola river.

The longstanding conflict in eastern Congo presents a number of challenges for the medical teams as they try to contain the deadly virus.

The Allied Democratic Forces, a Ugandan rebel group that has operated in the region since 1995, are believed to be behind the attack and kidnapping.

Officials said on Tuesday that 14 bodies were found in the north-eastern city of Beni in Congo, five days after suspected rebels kidnapped 15 people, officials said on Tuesday.

"It's going to be a very, very complex operation", Salama told journalists in Geneva on Friday.

It added that there is no evidence that the new Ebola cases are linked to the previous outbreak.

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