Ebola outbreak 'almost over', prime minister says
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[September 23, 2014]
KINSHASA (Reuters) - An outbreak of
the deadly Ebola virus in Democratic Republic of Congo, unrelated to the
epidemic in West Africa, is "almost over" with no new cases detected for
several days, Prime Minister Augustin Matata Ponyo said.
The government body coordinating the response to Ebola released data
on Monday showing Congo had recorded 68 cases in Equateur province
since August. Four previously suspected cases had tested negative,
but one new case was added.
Congo has registered 41 deaths from its outbreak.
"Ebola outbreak in DRC almost over," Matata Ponyo said on his
official Twitter account. "No new case recorded for nearly 10 days."
Unlike West African states, Congo has experience fighting Ebola.
However, aid workers are likely to be cautious about declaring
victory over the disease after governments in West Africa appeared
to downplay the threat of the virus there in the early stages of the
A spokesman for French medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres,
which has some 40 aid workers helping Congo fight the illness, said
it was not in a position to say whether the disease was under
The Ebola outbreak in Congo was first declared in the Djera area of
the province of Equateur on Aug. 24. Unlike the crisis in West
Africa, the disease is contained in distant, thickly forested
regions with low population density.
West Africa's Ebola outbreak began in Guinea's southeast and the
government said several times it was controlling the disease,
however it gradually spread into the capital, Conakry, and then into
neighboring Liberia and Sierra Leone.
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Nigeria and Senegal recorded cases but appear to have contained the
The World Health Organization says over 2,800 people have now been
killed, about half of all those infected. Experts say the number of
cases is likely to exceed 20,000 before the disease can be brought
(Reporting by Aaron Ross; Editing by David Lewis and Crispian Balmer)
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