2007-09-12

The Red Plague resurfaces

From the department of hundreds-dead-yet-again:
An outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in the Democratic Republic of Congo has killed at least five people says the World Health Organisation.

Blood samples from the southern province of Kasai were sent to laboratories specialising in haemorrhagic fever.

More than 100 people have died and many more have fallen sick in a recent fever epidemic in central DR Congo.

Scientists say some deaths could have been from a bacterium called Shigella.

Three months ago, people started falling sick from a mystery virus in several villages around Kananga, the capital of West Kasai region.

Emergency response teams are now being sent to DR Congo to try to contain the outbreak.

Ebola is untreatable and almost always fatal.

It is thought to be transmitted through the consumption of infected bush meat and can also be spread by contact with the blood secretions of infected people.

DR Congo's last major Ebola outbreak killed more than 200 people in 1995 in Kikwit, about 400km (249 miles) west of the current outbreak.

The last major incidence of the disease was in Uganda in 2001 when more than 400 cases were reported and more than half of the patients died.


Update:
160 dead so far.

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