The number of Ebola cases in the Democratic Republic of Congo doubled over the past week to 62, the World Health Organization reported Thursday, and more than half the afflicted patients have died. The outbreak in the country, where the Ebola virus was first discovered nearly 40 years ago, is a distinct strain from the far more drastic Ebola crisis ravaging West Africa, where more than 2,200 people have died this year, the worst on record. The Congo outbreak, by contrast, is confined to four villages in one county, and is linked to one initial case, first reported to the health organization on Aug.
If there can be any good news – or at least not further disheartening news – coming out of the African continent regarding this year’s Ebola outbreaks, we have one positive report this morning. The World Health Organization has just confirmed that the newly-identified cases of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in the Democratic Republic of Congo is genetically unrelated to the strain currently circulating in Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria. A WHO collaborating research center in Franceville, Gabon, the Centre International de Recherches Médicales, had previously identified six Ebola positive samples sent to the laboratory.
The Democratic Republic of Congo said as many as 13 people have died of Ebola in a separate outbreak from that raging in three West African nations. Laboratory tests were positive for Ebola in two cases in a remote village in the northwest, and 11 other deaths are suspected of being due to the virus, Information Minister Lambert Mende said on Monday. The strain of Ebola in the Congo is different to that in West Africa, Mr Mende said.
Authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo say two people have died from Ebola in the country’s north-west. They are the first reported Ebola cases outside West Africa since the outbreak there began, although it is not clear if they are directly linked to that outbreak. So far 1,427 people have died from the virus.