Ebola spreads to city, entering 3 health zones in Congo

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African Union (AU) sent today a health team to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to monitor the situation and the country " s required level of support to stop Ebola outbreak.

It has reached Mbandaka, the capital of the country's Equateur province.

"We are entering a new phase of the Ebola outbreak that is now affecting three health zones, including an urban health zone", Health Minister Oly Ilunga Kalenga said in a statement. A total of 44 cases have now been reported, including 23 deaths, the World Health Organization reports. He said epidemiologists are working to identify additional contacts to the 500 already identified.

Apart from this, the virus outbreak occurred in an area with a traffic of about 7,000 persons a week by different means, which represents a significant risk of further spread, the health official stressed.

It is the ninth time Ebola has been recorded in Congo since the disease made its first-known appearance near its northern Ebola river in the 1970s.

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Ebola is a serious infectious illness that causes internal bleeding and often proves fatal.

She says two cases of Ebola are confirmed, 20 are probable and 20 are suspected.

The virus is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission.

The World Health Organization sent 5,400 doses of the experimental Ebola vaccine to Congo on Wednesday, according to the health minister.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the agency's director-general, said: "This is a concerning development, but we now have better tools than ever before to combat Ebola".

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