Ebola out­break spreads to big Congo city

The Morning Journal (Lorain, OH) - - NATION+WORLD -

Congo’s Ebola out­break has spread to a cross­roads city of more than 1 mil­lion peo­ple in a trou­bling turn that marks the first time the vast, im­pov­er­ished coun­try has en­coun­tered the lethal virus in an ur­ban area.

“This is a ma­jor, ma­jor game-changer in the out­break,” Dr. Peter Salama, the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion’s deputy di­rec­tor-gen­eral of emer­gency pre­pared­ness and re­sponse, warned on Thurs­day.

A sin­gle case of Ebola was con­firmed in Mban­daka, a densely pop­u­lated pro­vin­cial cap­i­tal on the Congo River, Congo’s Health Min­is­ter Oly Ilunga said late Wed­nes­day. The city is about 93 miles from Bikoro, the ru­ral area where the out­break was an­nounced last week.

Med­i­cal teams rushed to track down any­one thought to have had con­tact with in­fected peo­ple, while WHO con­tin­ued ship­ping thou­sands of doses of an ex­per­i­men­tal vac­cine.

A to­tal of 44 cases of Ebola have been re­ported in Congo in this out­break: three con­firmed.

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