14 confirmed Ebola cases in DRC as emergency meeting held

Health workers don protective clothing as they prepare to attend to patients in the isolation ward to diagnose and treat suspected Ebola patients at Bikoro Hospital in Bikoro the rural area where the Ebola outbreak was announced in Congo. (Mark Naftalin

"We are entering a new phase of the Ebola outbreak that is now affecting three health zones, including an urban health zone", Ilunga said in a statement. There had been 25 deaths, but no new infections among healthworkers, Jasarevic told reporters.

Cases emerged in a rural area with one now confirmed in the city of Mbandaka.

The city of Mbandaka, which has one confirmed Ebola case, is an hour's flight from the capital, Kinshasa, and is located on the Congo River, a busy travel corridor.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is to hold an emergency meeting to discuss the risk of Ebola spreading from the Democratic Republic of Congo. The other death was a suspected case in Wangata.

The emergency meeting is to "consider the worldwide risks" of the deadly Ebola virus disease, which has now moved to an urban area of DRC. Ebola is a highly infectious disease spread through contact with even small amounts of bodily fluid of an infected person. "Urban Ebola can result in an exponential increase in cases in a way that rural Ebola struggles to do".

Mbandaka, a city of nearly 1.2 million people, is in a busy travel corridor in Congo's northwest Equateur province and is upstream from the capital, Kinshasa, a city of about 10 million.

The WHO has deployed doses of the experimental vaccine along with emergency teams and equipment Congo.

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The EU funding announced today will ensure deployment of relevant surge capacity to the affected areas, surveillance and contact tracing of Ebola victims as well as active case finding for early detection of those infected.

A government statement late on Thursday said the 11 new confirmed cases and one new related death were reported in the town of Bikoro in Equateur, where the Ebola outbreak was officially announced on May 8 by authorities.

Those exposed will for the first time in Congo receive Ebola vaccinations, the health minister said.

The Ebola virus is transmitted to humans from animals and has an estimated 50-percent fatality rate, according to the WHO.

First symptoms generally include the sudden onset of fever, fatigue, muscle pain, headache and sore throat, and this is followed by vomiting and diarrhoea.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) said it was preparing for the "worst case scenario", as it responds to the Ebola outbreak in the DRC.

The virus is endemic to DRC, and causes an acute, serious illness, which is often fatal if untreated.

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