Late Thursday, Congo's Ministry of Health announced 11 new confirmed Ebola cases and two deaths tied to cases in the country's northwest, including one in a suburb of Mbandaka.

Giving reasons why it was not safe for her compatriots to travel to DRC, the Director of Health services Dr Khumo Seipone said Ebola is a highly contagious and virulent disease that now has no cure. It can spread rapidly through contact with small amounts of bodily fluid, and its early flu-like symptoms are not always obvious.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) is convening an emergency meeting on Friday over the latest outbreak of the deadly Ebola disease in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

BBC graphic
WHO says Ebola poses a 'very high' risk to the Congo public

It said of the now 25 dead, only one death has been confirmed as Ebola. But "urban Ebola can result in an exponential increase in cases in a way that rural Ebola struggles to do".

"So in that respect it's unique", said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in the United States, who oversees an extensive research portfolio that includes studies on the Ebola virus.

These would be given as a priority to people in Mbandaka who had been in contact with those suspected of carrying the Ebola virus before people in any other affected area, Mr Salama said.


"We are entering a new phase of the Ebola outbreak that is now affecting three health zones, including an urban health zone", Ilunga said in a statement. The WHO said it is deploying about 30 more experts to the city.

On Wednesday more than 4,000 doses of an experimental vaccine sent by the World Health Organization arrived in Kinshasa with another batch expected soon. The Central African Republic and the Republic of Congo are close by. Moreover, WHO said that no restrictions have issued on global travel.

Ebola is thought to be spread over long distances by fruit bats and is often transmitted to humans eating contaminated bushmeat - meat from wild animals such as monkeys or antelopes. One challenge will be keeping the vaccine cold in a region with poor infrastructure and patchy electricity.


"As more evidence comes in of the separation of cases in space and time, and healthcare workers getting infected, and people attending funerals and then travelling quite big distances - it's got everything we would worry about", he told Reuters.

There is no licensed drug to treat or prevent Ebola, although an experimental vaccine arrived in the DRC on Wednesday and has been cleared for use by the Kinshasa government.


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