The incidence of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo has spread, with the number of cases doubling over the past week, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported Thursday.
The Congo virus is of a separate strain from the one currently rampaging through West Africa, where the disease has claimed over 2,200 lives in the past nine months.
There were 31 new cases reported in Congo between Sept. 2 and Sept. 9, bringing the total number to 62. All of the infections are confined to four villages in one county and are linked to one initial case reported to WHO on Aug. 26 — by grim coincidence the anniversary of the discovery of Ebola in Congo, which was then known as Zaire, 38 years ago.
Patients are currently being treated in temporary isolation units and a mobile laboratory has been installed. A total 35 people, including seven health workers, have died so far.
Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said Thursday that the three West African nations worst hit by Ebola face a fiscal blowout of $100 million to $130 million each, and that Sierra Leone’s annual growth this year will decrease from 11.3% to 8%, Liberia’s from 5.9% to 2.5% and Guinea’s from 3.5% to 2.4%, due to the epidemic.
“All three countries do have IMF programs,” IMF deputy spokesman William Murray said at a press briefing. “We’re in active engagement right now with the authorities to help determine how we can cover the additional financing requirement that they are facing.”