Congo Ebola outbreak poses high regional risk

An aid worker from the Democratic Republic of Congo gets vaccinated against Ebola in Mbandaka in May. AP

An aid worker from the Democratic Republic of Congo gets vaccinated against Ebola in Mbandaka in May. AP

It says 20 people have died from a hemorrhagic fever. "The risk is high at the country level, high at the regional level and low at a global level", he said.

Kampala- Ministry of Health has warned Ugandans residing in districts bordering Ebola-stricken DR Congo, against the consumption of bush meat through which the disease is said to be spread.

The latest outbreak is the tenth in Congo since the virus was discovered near the Ebola river in 1976. Salama underscored that the successful containment of the Equateur outbreak in just 10 weeks required arduous travel around a remote region, tracing and vaccinating people who may have been exposed to the virus.

If it is the Zaire strain, the Merck vaccine used in the last outbreak may be an option, otherwise the situation will be much more complex "and we may not have any vaccine options", he told Reuters at WHO's headquarters in Geneva.

"I was hit with fear not only about whether my health would be attacked by Ebola, but also how I'm going to feed my family without our Mangina field because all the roads leading to Mangina have been quarantined by the health officials", he said.

Health officials have given new details about how the latest outbreak came to light. Eastern Congo is a tinderbox of conflicts over land and ethnicity stoked by decades of on-off war and this could hamper efforts to contain the virus.

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The RBI's policy statement also mentioned that minimum support price (MSP) hike as the primary factor stoking inflation this year. The governor said trade skirmishes have "evolved into tariff wars and now we're possibly at the beginning of currency wars".

The WHO said the presence of armed groups and the wide-distance spread of the disease, could make vaccination "near impossible" in North Kivu.

Officials in Mangina rushed on Thursday to educate people about the risks of spreading the virus in a town that one local nurse told Reuters had no ambulance service.

"There is a great panic among the local population following the appearance of the Ebola epidemic", said a nurse by phone, who asked not to be named. Two of those cases were confirmed to be health workers.

The Ministry has also reactivated surveillance teams and task forces at Uganda's different border points with Congo to control movements and conduct screening for those entering the country.

An worldwide delegation including officials from the United Nations, the World Bank and the WHO is in Beni, 30 km from Mangina.

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