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2nd deadliest Ebola outbreak in history spreads to major city

2nd deadliest Ebola outbreak in history spreads to major city

World
The second-largest, second-deadliest Ebola outbreak in history has spread to a major city. Butembo, a bustling city of almost a million people in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, is reporting an increasing number of cases of Ebola virus disease in the country's current epidemic. There has been a "significant increase" in infections there over the past three weeks, with a total of 25 confirmed cases thus far, according to Thursday's bulletin from the country's health ministry. Butembo is a key trading and transport hub with links to other major cities in the country as well as to neighboring Uganda. It's about two times the size of the city of Beni, the outbreak's epicenter, and is located just 35 miles away. The health ministry said the "high density and mobility" of Butembo's ...
Ebola spreads to major Congo city as vaccines a concern

Ebola spreads to major Congo city as vaccines a concern

Health
The second-largest Ebola outbreak in history has spread to a major city in eastern Congo, as health experts worry whether the stock of an experimental vaccine will stand up to the demands of an epidemic with no end in sight. Butembo, with more than 1 million residents, is now reporting cases of the deadly hemorrhagic fever. That complicates Ebola containment work already challenged by rebel attacks elsewhere that have made tracking the virus almost impossible in some isolated villages. "We are very concerned by the epidemiological situation in the Butembo area," said John Johnson, project coordinator with Medecins Sans Frontieres in the city. New cases are increasing quickly in the eastern suburbs and outlying, isolated districts, the medical charity said. The outbreak declared on Aug. 1...
Battles over safe Ebola burials complicate work in Congo

Battles over safe Ebola burials complicate work in Congo

Health
A runaway hearse carrying an Ebola victim has become the latest example of sometimes violent community resistance that complicates efforts to contain a Congo outbreak, causing a worrying new rise in cases. The deadly virus' appearance for the first time in the far northeast has sparked fear. Suspected contacts of infected people have tried to slip away. Residents have assaulted health teams. The rate of new Ebola cases has more than doubled since the start of this month, experts say. Safe burials are particularly sensitive as some outraged family members reject health workers' guidance and put their own lives at risk. On Wednesday, a wary peace was negotiated over the body of an Ebola victim, one of 95 deaths among 170 confirmed cases so far, Congo's health ministry said. Her family dema...
DNA vaccine shows promising, long-term results against Ebola virus

DNA vaccine shows promising, long-term results against Ebola virus

Health
Oct. 10 (UPI) -- A synthetic DNA vaccine is showing immediate and long-term promising results against the Ebola virus in preclinical animal research. Scientists at The Wistar Institute Vaccine and Immunotherapy Centers designed optimized synthetic DNA vaccine candidates that target a virus surface protein called glycoprotein. The findings were published Wednesday in the Journal of Infectious Diseases. The Zaire Ebolavirus infection causes a severe hemorrhagic fever with a 50 percent fatality rate. Ebola, which is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission, first appeared in 1976 in what is now, Nzara, South Sudan, and in Yambuku, Democratic Republic of Congo. "Synthetic non-viral based DNA technology allows for rapid vac...
Congo announces 6 new confirmed cases of Ebola virus

Congo announces 6 new confirmed cases of Ebola virus

Health
Congo's health ministry announced six new confirmed Ebola cases and two new suspected cases Tuesday as vaccinations entered a second day in an effort to contain the deadly virus in a city of more than 1 million. Dozens of health workers in the northwestern provincial capital, Mbandaka, have received vaccinations amid expectations that some will be deployed to the rural epicenter of the epidemic. Front-line workers are especially at risk of contracting the virus, which spreads in contact with the bodily fluids of infected people, including the dead. "In the next five days 100 people must be vaccinated, including 70 health professionals," Health Minister Oly Ilunga said. "The priority of the government is to ensure that all these brave health professionals can do their job safely." Congo's...