5 new suspected Ebola cases reported in Congo's northwest

A passenger is screened at the JKIA in Nairobi in August 2015 /FILE

A passenger is screened at the JKIA in Nairobi in August 2015 /FILE

A hospital director said on Thursday (Friday NZ Time) there are five new suspected cases of Ebola in Congo's northwestern town of Bikoro, where an outbreak of the often deadly hemorrhagic fever was declared this week.

Health Minister Oly Ilunga said seven people with the hemorrhagic fever were hospitalized in Bikoro as of Thursday.

Researchers found there was just a small number of so-called "superspreaders" - highly infectious people who infect many others - in West Africa.

Health officials in the African nation have confirmed two people have the virus - but there has been 21 suspected cases in total - raising fears of an epidemic.

"Following the outbreak of Ebola in DRC and as per the worldwide health regulations we are now conducting routine screening of all travelers at points of entry", said Kariuki in a notice seen by TUKO.co.ke.

The World Health Organization is on the alert and will send epidemiologists and prevention experts to help health authorities on the ground to prevent any spread of the highly contagious disease.

FAAN's spokesperson, Mrs. Henrietta Yakubu said relevant agencies including the Port Health Services have been mobilized and are collaborating effectively to ensure the safety of passengers and other airport users.

After Congo's last Ebola flare-up, authorities there approved the use of a new experimental vaccine but in the end did not deploy it owing to logistical challenges and the relatively minor nature of the outbreak.

However, an outbreak did leave 49 people dead in the Central African country that year. The disease was discovered in 1976 and named after the eponymous Ebola River that cuts across the north of the country.

The Minister of Health, Prof. The number of confirmed cases of Ebola has risen to 25.

This undated, colourized micrograph file image provided by CDC shows an Ebola virus virion. Screening had been stepped up since the latest outbreak in Congo. This was well contained through the efficient coordination among the government, health department, global partners and the WHO.

Kariuki added that the government has established a National Health Emergencies Council which will be tasked with swiftly responding and expeditiously implementing measures to prevent the importation of Ebola into the country.

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