Four new deaths from Ebola in DR Congo

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DRC on Wednesday last week confirmed an outbreak of Ebola in Beni, North Kivu, about 100 km from the Ugandan border post of Mpondwe in Kasese.

The latest flare-up was announced one week after Congo's government declared the end of another outbreak in northwestern Congo that is believed to have killed 33 people as well.

World Health Organization is working to create and strengthen surveillance efforts, trace points of contact, expand lab capacities, and work on preventing infections, among other measures.

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That outbreak more than 2,500 kilometres away had 33 confirmed Ebola deaths.

Although they were anxious then that the virus might have traveled to other regions because of its close proximity to the Congo river, there is no evidence yet suggesting that the new outbreak is related to the former outbreak in Bikoro. "Teams are conducting investigations on the ground to identify the contacts of the confirmed cases, including health workers", he says.

A so-called cold chain, the series of measures needed to keep the vaccine well below zero in a tropical climate without reliable power supplies, will be set up in Beni this weekend, the statement said. There also is frequent cross-border trade with Uganda, which could complicate containment of the disease.

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Three healthcare workers have been struck down by Ebola, of whom one has died. But the country moved quickly, deploying 360 people, more than three-quarters of whom were from within the African region. Still, thousands of doses remain in the country's capital, Kinshasa.

North Kivu province now hosts more than 1 million displaced people and sees major cross-border movement due to trade with Rwanda and Uganda.

Dr Derek Gatherer, a virologist from Lancaster University, warned the outbreak earlier this summer was "reminiscent" of the 2014 Ebola pandemic.

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Despite that Ebola is never an easy illness to combat, the current outbreak is much more hard than previous ones primarily because of the location in which it appeared.

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