Health Care

Ebola: WHO confirms 19 deaths in DR Congo

Ebola: WHO confirms 19 deaths in DR Congo

The World Health Organization said Friday it is preparing for "the worst case scenario" for an Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Since 3 May, 39 suspected cases have been reported, two of which have been laboratory confirmed.

"This will be tough and it will be costly".

Tedros said he hoped for a "better result" in this ninth Ebola outbreak in the vast central African country since 1976, when the deadly viral disease was first identified by a Belgian-led team. The virus can spread rapidly through direct contact with bodily fluids of a person who is infected with or died from EVD. People can also get the virus through sexual contact as well.

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The worst-ever Ebola outbreak started in December 2013 in southern Guinea before spreading to two neighbouring west African countries, Liberia and Sierra Leone, killing more than 11 300 people out of almost 29,000 registered cases. The 2014-2016 outbreak in West Africa involved major urban areas as well as rural ones. It is a hemorrhagic fever, marked by spontaneous bleeding from internal organs and, in most cases, death.

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

"I'm in contact in the Minister of health and have assured him that we're ready to do all that's needed to stop the spread of Ebola quickly".

WHO said that the Ministry of Health in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is coordinating the response, and WHO is working with the agency. 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.