Health authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo are racing to contain a possible Ebola outbreak after a woman has died from the virus.
The woman came from the town of Biena, North Kivu and died in a hospital in Butembo 2 days after showing signs of the virus. She was married to a man who contracted Ebola during a previous outbreak of the virus.
“It was a farmer, the wife of a survivor of Ebola, who showed typical signs of the disease on February 1,” Health Minister Eteni Longondo told state television RTNC. “The provincial response team is already hard at work. It will be supported by the national response team which will visit Butembo shortly,”
According to the New England Journal of Medicine, the virus can live in the semen of male survivors for up to three years.
This announcement will potentially mark the 12th of Congo’s Ebola outbreak since it’s discovery near the Ebola River in 1976, doubling the count than any other country.
The symptoms of Ebola include high fever and muscle pain, vomiting and diarrhoea, skin eruptions, kidney and liver failure and internal and external bleeding.
Just three months ago Congo announced the end of its 11th outbreak in the western side of the country, which killed 55 people and infected 130 more. The Ebola vaccine was given to some 40.000 people and has since helped curb the disease with the widespread use
The equatorial forests of Congo are the perfect home for the virus which causes severe vomiting and diarrhoea. The virus is spread through contact with body fluids such as blood, vomit and semen.
Congo has also suffered decades of conflict and distrust with government health workers and other outsiders. The average fatality rate from the virus is 50% but for some pandemics, experts believe the statistics can rise up to 90%.
The Ebola virus that causes the disease is believed to reside in bats.
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