The Democratic Republic of Congo faces a “very high” public health risk from Ebola, the World Health Organization warns, after the disease spreads to a major city.
Two more cases of Ebola were confirmed in the north-west city of Mbandaka, bringing to three the total number of confirmed cases in the city of almost 1.2 million, raising the prospect of a wider outbreak than feared. The Ministry of Health announced the confirmation of 11 previously suspected cases of Ebola and two more deaths, taking the total number of cases, including 25 deaths, to 45. All the deaths so far have occurred in Bikoro, a rural area about 150km from Mbandaka.
The WHO is sending 7,540 doses of an experimental vaccine to try to stop the outbreak in its tracks, and 4,300 doses have already arrived in Kinshasa. It will be used to protect health workers and “rings” of contacts around each case. The world’s worst epidemic of Ebola, a hemorrhagic fever, began in Guinea in December 2013 and swept through Liberia and Sierra Leone, killing more than 11,300 people and infecting 28,600.