Congo

Congo: Possible Ebola outbreak in Cuvette Ouest region

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NAIROBI, 6 February (IRIN) - An emergency team left Brazzaville on Thursday to investigate a suspected outbreak of haemorrhagic fever in the Republic of Congo's Cuvette Ouest Region, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported.
A total of 16 people were reported to have died of suspected haemorrhagic fever in Cuvette Ouest, located some 500 km north of the capital, with three of the deaths having occurred in a village of Mbomo district, and 13 others in a village of Kelle district.

A team from neighbouring Gabon has also been dispatched to confirm the origin of the deaths, while a national crisis committee chaired by the Congolese Minister of Health has been created.

BBC reported that authorities were first alerted to a possible outbreak when a clan of gorillas in the region began to die. Tests carried out on the bodies confirmed that the gorillas had died from the Ebola virus, and the disease has now claimed more than 80 percent of the gorilla clan. The current outbreak is believed to have been caused by villagers eating primates that were infected with Ebola.

Ebola is a haemorrhagic fever transmitted through direct contact with body fluids of infected persons or other primates. There is no cure, and between 50 percent and 90 percent of victims die.

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