Ebola kills nine in DR Congo

Ebola virus

"Around 40 health workers are expected to be vaccinated today; by end of the week, once all the necessary steps are in place, vaccination of community contacts and their contacts will commence", WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said.

The latest outbreak, declared August 1 in Mangina village in the Mabalako health zone, is Congo's tenth outbreak since the virus was identified in 1976.

An Ebola outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo has been confirmed as the Zaire strain of the virus, and vaccinations will start on Wednesday, health officials said.

World Health Organization confirmed through analysis of genetic sequencing that the latest outbreak was a new one, separate to one 2,500km away in the northwest of the country - but the strain of the disease was part of the same Zaire family of the fresh outbreak in the east.

The outbreak declared last week in North Kivu province in the northeast near Uganda and Rwanda is a new outbreak and not connected to the one in DRC's northwest that was declared over on July 24, WHO's emergency preparedness chief Peter Salama said on Twitter.

"The Ebola virus is most infectious in the moments after death", Dr Nafo-Traore said, stressing that for this approach to work, it needs to be attuned to local cultural beliefs and norms".

Health experts in Beni are setting up "cold chains", a series of measures to keep the vaccines at the optimal temperature of minus 70 degrees Celsius before they can travel from the capital, Kinshasa, to the Beni region in eastern Congo, which has unreliable power supplies and hot temperatures, said Tambwe.

Forty-six other suspected cases are being investigated, including 25 in Beni, a trading hub of several hundred thousand people, the ministry said in a statement. It can be spread through contact of bodily fluids of someone infected, living or dead.

Nearly 1,000 people who have had "contact" with the virus have been registered in health zones under surveillance, it said.

It added that there is no evidence that the new Ebola cases are linked to the previous outbreak.

In the past, dozens of people were killed by the disease in the central African country.

Ebola jumps to humans from animals including bats and monkeys.

There is no specific treatment, and the virus can be fatal in up to 90 percent of cases, depending on the strain.

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