Ebola outbreak suspected in Dem.Rep. of Congo

Cho'gall chogall72 at bigfoot.com
Tue May 4 13:21:27 EST 1999


(source: ProMED-mail)
New Ebola Virus Outbreak Feared In Congo, 46 Dead

Forty-six people have died in the Democratic Republic of the Congo from
an
outbreak of hemorrhagic fever that bears signs of the Ebola virus, the
World Health Organization said Friday.

WHO resident representative in Kinshasa, Dr Abdou Moudi, told a news
conference that the deaths were from 52 cases recorded since the fever
first surfaced in January.

The deaths were in the Watsa locality in Ituri district of Oriental
Province. Watsa is 140 km (90 miles) from Uganda's western border with
Congo.

"The disease is very virulent. Forty-six deaths, including the medical
officer in charge of the health district" had been recorded, Moudi said.

A total of 350 people died around the town of Kikwit in the former Zaire
in
1995 in the most serious known epidemic of Ebola, which kills most of
its
victims. All the cases reported in Watsa locality since January had
symptoms of massive hemorrhaging, sudden high fevers, severe headache
and
weakness, usually followed by death within 48 hours, he said.

"Is it Ebola or another form of virus? Whatever the case we need to act
fast," added Moudi, who was involved in efforts to contain the 1995
epidemic.

Cases of Ebola have since been reported in the Central African state of
Gabon, and Ivory Coast in West Africa.

Health Minister Mashako Mamba, speaking at the same news conference,
appealed for urgent international assistance.

"We appeal to the international community, that is, countries equipped
with
laboratories...to mobilize in an effort toward diagnosing and limiting
the
affected area and supervising local personnel," he said. "This epidemic
looks very much like the Ebola virus but for now let's speak of
haemorrhagic fever pending confirmation," said leading Congolese
virologist
Jean-Jacques Muyembe.

He led local collaboration with international scientists in efforts to
contain the 1995 epidemic.





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