Ebola outbreak spreads to 3rd province in eastern Congo

August 16, 2019 - 4:44 am

KINSHASA, Congo (AP) — Congo's year-long Ebola outbreak has spread to a new province, with two cases, including one death, confirmed in South Kivu, according to the government health ministry.

Two new patients tested positive in the Mwenga area of South Kivu, adding to North Kivu and Ituri provinces where there are confirmed cases of the disease, according to the health ministry.

The new cases are "a 24-year-old woman and her 7-month-old child," said Dr. Jean-Jacques Muyembe, the director of Congo's National Institute for Biomedical Research, in a statement released on Friday.

The mother and her child had visited Beni, in North Kivu province, which is the center of the outbreak. They returned to South Kivu province where they fell sick with Ebola. The mother died Thursday and her child is being treated by a response team, said Muyembe's statement.

The Ebola outbreak in eastern Congo has killed 1,808 people out of 2,765 confirmed cases, according to the new report. The current outbreak, which started on Aug. 1 last year, is the second largest in history.

The spread of confirmed cases to a third province shows that health workers have struggled to contain the outbreak, despite the use of a vaccine. Many people in eastern Congo do not trust doctors and other medics.