UN employee in eastern Congo tests positive for Ebola

A doctor cares for a patient inside an isolation cube in Beni, Democratic Republic of Congo.
A doctor cares for a patient inside an isolation cube in Beni, Democratic Republic of Congo.PHOTO: REUTERS

GOMA, Democratic Republic of Congo (REUTERS) - A United Nations employee in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo has tested positive for Ebola, the first such incident during the current outbreak, the head of the UN peacekeeping mission (Monusco) there said on Friday (Oct 12) in a letter to staff.

"I am writing today to inform you that my leadership team and I have regretfully just received news that a UN colleague based in Beni has tested positive for Ebola, and is now receiving the necessary medical treatment," Leila Zerrougui wrote in the letter seen by Reuters.

A Monusco spokeswoman declined to comment, saying the mission was only communicating internally on the matter for the time being.

The ebola outbreak in Congo's eastern borderlands with Uganda and Rwanda has worsened markedly in recent weeks due to community resistance to health workers and insecurity caused by rebel groups active in the area.

At least 125 people are believed to have died from Ebola since July, and another 75 have been infected.

The haemorrhagic fever spreads through contact with the bodily fluids of its victims and typically kills about half of those it infects.