DR Congo reports four more Ebola cases

Bikoro Hospital is at the centre of the latest Ebola outbreak in the DR Congo's northwest where so far 18 people have diedMore

The WHO is planning to begin a vaccination campaign in the area, near the border with the Republic of Congo, using an available stockpile of an experimental vaccine.

Congo first reported the outbreak, centred on the village of Ikoko Impenge, near the town of Bikoro, on Tuesday, with 32 suspected, probable or confirmed cases of the disease, including 18 deaths since April 4.

"I'm in contact in the Minister of health and have assured him that we're ready to do all that's needed to stop the spread of Ebola quickly".

"This is the country's ninth Ebola outbreak and there is considerable expertise in-country", Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, was quoted as saying.

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The disease - most feared for the internal and external bleeding it can cause in its victims owing to damage done to blood vessels - has already spread to three locations covering 60 km (37 miles) or more in Equateur province.

WHO is working with Government and key partners - including Médecins Sans Frontières, World Food Programme, the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, UNICEF, UNOCHA, MONUSCO, IOM, Africa CDC and US-CDC - to strengthen coordination of the EVD response at the national level and in the affected Bikoro health zone.

The declaration followed laboratory results that confirmed two cases of the disease.

"However, any country facing such a threat may require global assistance".

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"It is too early to judge the extent of this outbreak", said Dr Peter Salama, WHO deputy director-general for Emergency Preparedness and Response.

"This will be tough and it will be costly".

World Health Organization says it has alerted countries surrounding DR Congo about the outbreak to enable them to take precautionary measures to prevent spread.

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