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Fever outbreak probably not Ebola

Preliminary findings from northeastern DRC indicate the reported outbreak of viral haemorrhagic fever in the area is not the Ebola disease, but another type of haemorrhagic fever "which is nearly as infectious", humanitarian sources told IRIN on Wednesday. The first cases were reported in the Watsa zone in January this year, but according to the World Health Organisation there are indications that since 1994, there have been multiple small outbreaks of an apparently similar illness in the Durba gold-mining area, some 20 km from Watsa town. A WHO spokesman told IRIN that according to reports from the field, the number of cases were decreasing and the trend was now downwards. Samples from the field were due to undergo laboratory tests on Wednesday, he added. Latest WHO figures, up to 3 May, put the number of recorded cases at 68, with 63 deaths most of them among the gold-miners. The spokesman said WHO was trying to ascertain a possible link between the disease and the miners. Meanwhile, an isolation unit has been set up in Durba. DRC Health Minister Mashako Mamba announced that a team of national and international experts had gone to the area, to help medical teams on the spot, state television reported on Tuesday. UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Sergio Vieira de Mello has expressed concern over the outbreak of the disease and urged all parties to the conflict in DRC to facilitate investigative efforts. The area is under rebel control.

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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