World Health Organization confirms second Ebola case in new outbreak

An man is treated for Ebola in The Democratic Republic of Congo

Rwanda health officials are closely monitoring release of World Health Organization (WHO) report which will determine whether to stop its citizens from traveling to Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) just days after an Ebola outbreak was declared in the Central African nation.

The World Health Organization said the zone at Likati, some 1,300 kilometres (930 miles) from the capital Kinshasa, was very hard to access but stressed it was crucial to pinpoint who had had contact with those affected in order to nip the latest outbreak in the bud.

Three people have so far died among the 19 suspected and confirmed cases, he added. The latest outbreak comes one year after the end of the epidemic which killed more than 11,000 people across West Africa.

The WHO described the outbreak as "a public health crisis of worldwide importance". A 45-year-old man fell ill on April 22 and died on his way to the hospital.

The Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) epidemic poses a public health emergency that can affect the whole world and affect the socio-economic and structural transformation of Africa.

"The full extent of the 2017 outbreak is still not yet clear", the WHO Africa statement read. Of the cases and deaths, 1 has been tested PCR-positive for Ebola.

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National officials and the media agency announced on Friday that at least one case of the virus had been confirmed in the village of Lakiti.

"We have tightened all the 10 provinces, including those that do not border with the DRC, with Ebola preparedness and surveillance interventions to ensure alertness as a country", he said.

So far all the cases have been tied to a remote village, and it's a strain of Ebola that's been seen in the country before. "The Likati health district is in a remote area, but contact tracing is essential to contain the outbreak in its focus; the DRC can rely on very experienced health workers for this goal".

Asked by EURACTIV.com about the Commission's response to the new reported outbreak, spokesperson Carlos Martin Ruiz De Gordejuela said the European Union executive was "fully committed to provide all the support necessary". It was the only epidemic of Ebola - usually, outbreaks are smaller and affect at the most a few hundred people. Humans can be infected by other humans if they come in contact with body fluids from an infected person or contaminated objects from infected persons.

While it appears unlikely that the situation in Congo will be anywhere near as deadly as the 2014 West African outbreak, health authorities are taking nothing for granted.

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