Six suspected cases of Ebola reported in DR Congo: UN

KINSHASA (AFP) - Six suspected cases of Ebola have been reported in the northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo, just six months after an outbreak of the deadly virus ended in the area, the United Nations (UN) said on Wednesday.

Mr Sylvestre Ntumba, an official working for the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said the cases had been recorded between May 1 and May 12 in the Bas-Uele district, in the northeastern Orientale Province.

"Six suspected cases of Ebola haemorrhagic fever have been reported," he told reporters at a press conference in Kinshasa.

"With the support of the World Health Organisation (WHO), a team from the provincial health division is on the ground to investigate and to take samples," he said, adding they are currently awaiting results.

To date, no treatment or vaccine is available for Ebola, which kills between 25 and 90 per cent of those who fall sick, depending on the strain of the virus, according to the WHO.

The disease is transmitted by direct contact with blood, faeces or sweat, or by sexual contact or unprotected handling of contaminated corpses.

Ebola, one of the world's most virulent diseases, was first discovered in the DRC in 1976 and the country has had eight outbreaks.

The most recent epidemic, in the same region, infected 62 people and left 34 dead between May and November last year, according to the country's health ministry.

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