WHO Reports 19 Dead, 39 Infected in Congo Ebola Outbreak

Health officials are preparing for the'worst Ebola outbreak yet

A new outbreak of Ebola has been declared in Bikoro in Equateur Province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Five samples were collected from five patients and two have been confirmed by the laboratory.

Furthermore, fruit bats are considered to be the main host of the disease, some analysts say, but it is also introduced into humans through close contact with the blood, organs or other bodily fluids of other infected animals, such as gorillas, antelope and porcupines.

People can contract the virus through direct contact with victims' bodies at funerals.

Ebola, named for the Congolese river near where it was first identified in 1976, begins with a sudden fever, aching muscles, diarrhea and vomiting.

WHO's Africa director, Matshidiso Moeti, told Reuters on Sunday: "We're working on the deployment of these materials, especially readying the cold chain".

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"However, any country facing such a threat may require global assistance".

Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who is scheduled to travel to DRC soon, will be taking stock of the situation. Cases have been confirmed in Bikoro health zone, with further suspected cases reported in Ingende and Iboko health zones as as well as in Waganta health area in the provincial capital Mbandaka.

There have been 24 recorded outbreaks in west and central Africa, including in DRC, Uganda, Sudan and Gabon, the BBC report added.

The vaccine was developed by the Canadian government and is now licensed to the US -based Merck. Its early flu-like symptoms are not always easy to detect.

Ebola is one of the world's most notorious diseases, being both highly infectious and extremely lethal.

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