NFF monitoring Ebola before DR Congo friendly

Deadly Outbreak Reported in 11th Largest Country in the World: 17 Dead, More Sickened

The first death from a new outbreak of Ebola in the north west of the Democratic Republic of Congo has been confirmed along with 11 other cases of people sick with the virus.

Seven people with a hemorrhagic fever, including two confirmed cases of Ebola, were hospitalized in Bikoro as of Thursday, according to Health Minister Oly Ilunga.

The deadly Ebola disease also spread to Nigeria when Patrick Sawyer, who was infected with the virus, flew into the country from Liberia.

Bikoro health zone has a population of around 163 000 people with three hospitals and 19 health centres covering the population, most with limited functionality.

The Nigeria football federation (NFF) may cancel the already scheduled global friendly match between the Super Eagles of Nigeria and Democratic Republic of Congo following a fresh outbreak of Ebola in the central African country.

There have been at least 17 deaths in the area where the Ebola outbreak was confirmed. Two of those cases involved nurses who had helped treat other people showing symptoms of the Ebola virus.

Ngalebato says that among the new suspected cases is a woman from Ikoko Impenge, the epicenter of the outbreak some 30km from Bikoro.

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"After contact, the nurses began showing signs", Ngaleto said.

"We have isolated the patients", Ngalebato said.

Nigeria's immigration service said on Thursday it had increased screening tests at airports and other entry points as a precautionary measure following the Ebola outbreak in Congo. DRC's health ministry said that it had sent a team of 12 experts to find the epicenter of the outbreak and the affected villages, and trace the new contacts of the disease.

"This advance team brought the first batches of equipment, mostly containing rapid diagnostic tests for the Ebola virus and laser thermometers", the Health Ministry statement said.

Ebola is most feared for the internal and external bleeding it can cause in its victims owing to damage done to blood vessels.

Congo's long experience of Ebola and its vast, remote geography mean outbreaks are often localised and relatively easy to isolate and snuff out.

Ikoko Impenge is located in the northwestern portion of the country near the Congo River, which is a major trade and transportation route.

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