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Ebola cases in Democratic Republic of Congo unrelated to strain circulating in West Africa

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
9/4/2014 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Small tidbit of 'good news' means it hasn't reached been spread from current outbreak

Ebola, the organ-destroying disease ravaging parts of Africa is as far away from "good news" as you can get. There is one encouraging sign, even if it deals with Ebola cases. The World Health Organization, or WHO says that the cases reported in the Democratic Republic of Congo is not related to the current strain devastating West Africa.

The strain of the Zaire virus currently circulating in the DRC is most closely related to one responsible for an outbreak in 1995 in the city of Kikwit.

The strain of the Zaire virus currently circulating in the DRC is most closely related to one responsible for an outbreak in 1995 in the city of Kikwit.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
9/4/2014 (2 years ago)

Published in Africa

Keywords: Ebola, Democratic Republic of Congo, West Africa, strain


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The newly-identified cases of Ebola Virus Disease, or EVD in the Democratic Republic of Congo is genetically unrelated to the strain currently circulating in Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria, according to WHO.

The deduction was made by a research center in Franceville, Gabon, the Centre International de Recherches M├ędicales. The center had previously identified six Ebola positive samples sent to the laboratory. "The virus in the Boende district is definitely not derived from the virus strain currently circulating in West Africa," the report said.

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"Results from the virus characterization, together with findings from the epidemiological investigation, are definitive: the outbreak in DRC is a distinct and independent event, with no relationship to the outbreak in West Africa," WHO confirmed.

The news is significant as there were high concerns that the West African outbreak had somehow spread to the DRC, formerly Zaire. The viruses in each outbreak are genetically distinct, but they are both of the Zaire species of Ebola virus, a fact that might be confused as meaning the outbreaks are related.

The strain of the Zaire virus currently circulating in the DRC is most closely related to one responsible for an outbreak in 1995 in the city of Kikwit. Ebola virus first emerged in the DRC and South Sudan in 1976. The current outbreak in the DRC is the seventh on record.

The index case has been clearly identified as a pregnant woman from Ikanamongo Village who died on August 11 after preparing bush meat that her husband had hunted.

"Local customs and rituals associated with death meant that several health-care workers were exposed and presented with similar symptoms in the following week," the WHO reported. The means of viral spread is typical of most Ebola outbreaks:

The WHO has since identified 53 cases consistent with a diagnosis of Ebola, including 31 deaths. Seven of the dead were healthcare workers.

But the WHO stressed that the outbreak is primarily occurring in a remote region of the DRC, about 750 miles from the capital of Kinshasa.

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