(AFP) – Dec 25, 2008
KINSHASA (AFP) — A deadly Ebola outbreak in the central Democratic Republic of Congo has killed nine and infected 21, the UN-sponsored radio Okapi quoted the health minister as saying Thursday.
The rare disease, named after a small Congo river, was found in the town of Kampongo, near Mueka in the Western Kasai province, according to Augustin Mopipi.
He added that analysis from samples taken on site confirmed the existence of the virulent disease, which kills up to 90 percent of its victims, mostly by puncturing blood vessels and spurring non-stop hemorrhage.
French aid group Doctors Without Borders (MSF), which has nine workers based in the area, told AFP the Ebola outbreak may have infected 33 people in Kampongo, after the first suspected cases were reported on November 29.
"MSF is currently putting together an isolation unit with doctors, wearing overalls and masks, to help the people suspected of contracting the virus," said spokesman Francois Dumont.
"As there is no cure for Ebola, medical teams on the ground are giving people palliative treatment and anti-malaria drugs," he added.
The DR Congo has been hit by Ebola outbreaks three times before. In 1976 the virus killed nearly 500 people on both sides of the country's border with Sudan.
It struck again in 1995, killing 245 people in the western province of Bandundu, and a further 26 cases were confirmed in 2007 in the Western Kasai province, after 187 people died from a host of diseases, including Ebola, malaria, typhoid and dysentery.
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