Congo and WHO investigate possible Ebola outbreak

Thu Jul 2, 2015 11:47am EDT

Health officials in Democratic Republic of Congo are investigating a possible outbreak of Ebola in a village, the government and the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday.

Eugene Kabambi, a spokesman for WHO in Congo, said the suspected outbreak was in the village of Masambio in Bandundu province, more than 400 km (250 miles) northeast of the capital Kinshasa.

Congo has seen periodic outbreaks of the disease, which since last year has killed more than 11,200 people in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea in the worst Ebola epidemic on record.

A three-month outbreak that killed 49 people late last year in the remote forests of northwestern Congo was not related to the West African epidemic.

“What we know is just suspicion … For the time being, epidemiologists are on the ground collecting samples to send to the lab,” Kabambi said.

He added that he did not know how many suspected cases there were or when they were first reported. Congo’s health minister called an emergency meeting on the suspected outbreak on Thursday, Kabambi said.

Lomamy Kalema Shodu, a medical adviser at the health ministry, confirmed the suspected cases and said that the government was treating the situation very seriously.

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