33 Cases Of Ebola In the Past Week - Congo Confirms

33 Cases Of Ebola In the Past Week - Congo Confirms

Congo has confirmed 33 cases of Ebola in the past week, prompting fears of a global health emergency.

Of those confirmed to have contracted the virus since 8 October, 24 have died.

The new cases mean 139 people have died since the current outbreak was declared on 1 August, with 214 people believed to have caught the virus.

As more people fall ill and fears rise that the outbreak may spin out of control, experts from the World Health Organisation (WHO) are due to meet to decide whether the outbreak represents a public health emergency.

A committee could make recommendations on how to manage the outbreak, which it is feared could spread beyond the Democratic Republic of Congo to neighbouring Uganda and Rwanda.

Congo has experienced 10 Ebola outbreaks but this is the first time the disease has appeared close to the border with Uganda, where people and goods frequently cross.

WHO has reported that more than 7.5m travellers have been screened at 57 entry points since the beginning of the outbreak.

The northeast Kivu area, where cases are being reported, is also badly affected by conflict, with instability and dangerous armed groups threatening efforts to treat and contain Ebola.

The deadly haemorrhagic fever, which spreads through contact with bodily fluids, causes fever, vomiting and diarrhoea, impaired liver and kidney function and, in some cases, bleeding internally and externally.

Deadly in about 50% of cases, it has no proven treatment and those who become sick with the illness are treated with fluids and rest - often in isolation in an attempt to prevent the spread of the virus.

In 2014-16, an Ebola outbreak that began in Guinea and spread to Liberia and Sierra Leone became the largest outbreak since the virus was discovered, inflecting at least 28,600 people and causing 11,325 deaths.

By Bethan Staton, Sky News

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