Ebola cases on rise, reach 14 in DRC

12 health workers don protective clothing as they prepare to attend to suspected Ebola patients at Bikoro Hospital in Bikoro Congo

12 health workers don protective clothing as they prepare to attend to suspected Ebola patients at Bikoro Hospital in Bikoro Congo

Only one of the 25 dead has been confirmed as Ebola, it said, adding that no new health professionals have been contaminated.

Currently, WHO said it considers the public health risk to be high at the national level, moderate at the regional level and low at the worldwide level.

WHO Deputy Director-General for Emergency Preparedness and Response Peter Salama had told reporters on Thursday that the risk assessment was being reviewed.

The case raised concerns that the virus, previously found in more rural areas, would be tougher to contain and could reach downstream to the capital Kinshasa, which has a population of 10 million.

It raised its view of the risks after a case of Ebola was confirmed in the city of Mbandaka, which the agency said was "a large urban center located on major national and worldwide river, road and domestic air routes".

The Ebola outbreak in the DRC has entered a "new phase" after it spread to a large city, Health Minister Oly Ilunga said on Wednesday.

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Later on Friday, the WHO will convene an Emergency Committee of experts to advise on the worldwide response to the outbreak, and decide whether it constitutes a "public health emergency of global concern". The other death was a suspected case in Wangata. That new death had epidemiological ties to another case.

Notably, about 23 people have reportedly died and 42 people have contracted the virus since Epola outbreak began earlier in May. "Urban Ebola can result in an exponential increase in cases in a way that rural Ebola struggles to do".

Medical teams rushed to track down anyone thought to have had contact with infected people, while the World Health Organization continued shipping thousands of doses of an experimental vaccine.

The WHO will be deploying about 30 experts to scrutinise and inspect the city, is working along with the Ministry of Health and also believes in engaging with the communities to prevent and treat and report about new cases. The vaccination campaign would first target health workers. The virus was initially transmitted to people from wild animals, including bats and monkeys. It was tested in Guinea during the outbreak that killed more than 11,300 people in West Africa from 2014 to 2016.

Similarly, the European Commission has released around 1.6 million euros (1.9 million dollars) to help tackle an Ebola outbreak in Congo, as well as organising flights to transport emergency staff and equipment to the affected areas.

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