New Ebola outbreak confirmed in DR Congo

Ebola outbreak confirmed in the Democratic Republic of Congo

World Health Organization said it had released $1m (£740,000) from its Contingency Fund for Emergencies to support response activities for the next three months with the goal of stopping the spread of Ebola to surrounding provinces and countries.

Congolese authorities approved the use of an experimental new vaccine but did not deploy it during last year's outbreak that killed four people. In the announcement, Muyembe said that there are at least ten cases suspected meaning that there could be cases announced later.

This is the Congo's ninth outbreak of the virus since it was discovered in the country in 1976.

The virus is handed on by contact with bodily fluids - touching a sick or dead person is a well-known source of infection.

Last week, officials in Equateur province reported more than 20 cases of hemorrhagic fever - 17 fatal - to the national government in Kinshasa, sending five clinical samples for testing. More than 11,300 people died and some 28,600 were infected, majority in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

WHO and local officials were able to quickly control last year's outbreak in an isolated part of the country, though the 2013-2016 swept through densely populated areas, devastating Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone and sparking a USA debate about travel bans and whether to quarantine returning health workers.

Rapidly responding to Ebola is key to stopping the outbreak before it gets out of control.

The difference in response between 2014 and now is "night and day", according to Loyce Pace, the president and executive director of the Global Health Leadership Council, a membership organization that lobbies for global health priorities.

"Since the notification of the cases on May 3, no deaths have been reported", it said, without specifying when the first case came to light. It was in July 2017 that the outbreak was contained and stopped.

Ebola is believed to be spread over long distances by bats, which can host the virus without dying, as it infects other animals it shares trees with such as monkeys.

Two nurses who cared for him contracted Ebola, but recovered.

It is caused by a virus that has a natural reservoir in the bat, which does not itself fall ill, but can pass the microbe on to humans who hunt it for "bush-meat".

Ebola is spread between humans in a variety of different ways.

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