Congo confirms 11 new Ebola cases

12 health workers don protective clothing as they prepare to attend to suspected Ebola patients at Bikoro Hospital in Bikoro Congo

The Ebola outbreak in Congo risks running out of control with the first suspected case reported in a city of over 1 million.

The new case of Ebola virus disease has been confirmed in Wangata, one of the three health zones of Mbandaka, a city of almost 1.2 million people in Equateur Province in northwestern Congo, the World Health Organization confirmed Thursday.

"At least 44 people are believed to have been infected" during a new outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo, says the BBC, and "23 deaths are now being investigated". Fourteen cases have been confirmed with laboratory tests.

In this photo taken Saturday, May 12, 2018, health workers don protective clothing as they prepare to attend to patients in the isolation ward to diagnose and treat suspected Ebola patients, at Bikoro Hospital in Bikoro, the rural area where the Ebola outbreak was announced last week, in Congo.

It said of the now 25 dead, only one death had been confirmed as Ebola. "WHO and our partners are taking decisive action to stop further spread of the virus".

Earlier on Thursday, WHO Deputy Director Peter Salama said in a tweet that the latest confirmed case marked "a game changer" in the outbreak and would make beating back the virus "much tougher".

The WHO is set to convene an Emergency Committee meeting on Friday to consider the worldwide risks. Who officials now set the contacts of the sick EBOLA person with healthy people to prevent the spread of the disease. "It is paramount to trace the suspect case in order to have a clearer view on how it reached the city".

They are coordinating their efforts - and that includes not only tracking down and monitoring contacts of infected people, but a plan to give those contacts the experimental vaccine. And until now, all the confirmed cases of Ebola were in Bikoro health zone, some 90 miles south of Mbandaka.

"And we are taking it very seriously", Dr. Ibrahima-Soce Fall, the World Health Organization regional emergency director for Africa, said Monday when two cases were suspected in Mbandaka and being kept in isolation.

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World Health Organization deputy director for emergency preparedness Peter Salama said urgent containment measures were needed.

The Ebola vaccine being provided - called rVSV-ZEBOV - has been shown to be safe in humans and highly effective against the Ebola virus, according to the WHO.

Doctors Without Borders (MSF), quoting local officials, said 514 people were believed to have been in contact with Ebola patients and were now being monitored.

Results on the cases are expected within 24 hours, Ilunga said.

Ebola virus disease, which most commonly affects people and nonhuman primates such as monkeys, gorillas and chimpanzees, is caused by one of five Ebola viruses.

"This is the ninth Ebola outbreak in Congo in the last 40 years".

Ebola is lethal and highly contagious, which makes it hard to contain - especially in urban environments where people are mobile and come into more contact with others.

The 2014-16 West Africa outbreak became particularly deadly when it spread to the capitals of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

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