TIME Infectious Disease

Here’s How Ebola Spread in the Democratic Republic of Congo: WHO

A suspected Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo may have no connection to the outbreak in West Africa

On Tuesday, the Democratic Republic of Congo reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) that the country is having an outbreak of Ebola, which appears to be separate and unrelated to the outbreak in West Africa.

According to the information given to the WHO and provided to media, here’s how it spread: The first person to contract Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo was a pregnant woman who butchered a bush animal given to her by her husband. She was taken to a clinic after she started displaying symptoms of Ebola virus disease and died on Aug. 11 of a hemorrhagic fever, that at the time, was not yet identified as Ebola. The woman died, and was dealt with by health care workers.

The health care workers who cared for the woman, which included one doctor, two nurses, a hygienist and a ward boy, all developed similar symptoms and died. Similar deaths were discovered among relatives of the first pregnant woman, people who were in contact with the health care workers, and people who were involved in the burial process of all the men and women who died. According to the WHO, from July 28 to August 18 there have been 24 suspected cases of the disease there, which includes 13 deaths.

Currently, samples of those infected are being tested for Ebola.

The Democratic Republic of Congo Ministry of Health is currently monitoring the situation and is undergoing contact tracing with support from WHO.

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