(From AP News)
Congo’s Ebola outbreak has spread to a city, the capital of the northwestern Equateur province, a worrying shift as the risk of infection is more easily passed on in densely populated urban areas.
Two suspected cases of hemorrhagic fever were reported in the Wangata health zones, which includes Mbandaka, a city of nearly 1.2 million people about 150 kilometers (93 miles) from Bikoro, the rural area where the outbreak was announced last week, said Congo Health Minister Oly Ilunga.
One sample proved positive for the deadly Ebola virus, he said. This brings to three the number of confirmed Ebola cases. A total of 44 cases have now been reported, including 23 deaths, the World Health Organization reports. Among those are three confirmed, 20 probable and 21 suspected cases.
“We are entering a new phase of the Ebola outbreak that is now affecting three health zones, including an urban health zone,” he said, adding he is worried because Mbandaka is densely populated and at the crossroads of Equateur province. Ebola is spread by contact with the bodily fluids of people exhibiting symptoms.