World Health Organization says Congo faces "very high" risk from Ebola outbreak

Ebola has spread to Mbandaka a densely populated area in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Ebola has spread to Mbandaka a densely populated area in the Democratic Republic of Congo

"If you remember from the previous outbreak, it took a whole lot for the worldwide community to understand it's a risky disease.Today it seems as if as soon as the first case was declared at least a lot of people are coming in to help", said Axelle Ronsse of the organisation.

The reassessment came after the first confirmed case in Mbandaka, a city of around 1.5 million.

It raised its view of the risks after a case of Ebola was confirmed in the city of Mbandaka, which the agency said was "a large urban centre located on major national and global river, road and domestic air routes".

A government statement late on Thursday said the 11 new confirmed cases and one new related death were reported in the town of Bikoro in Equateur, where the Ebola outbreak was officially announced on May 8 by authorities.

She said her ministry would continue to monitor the situation at all levels and will update the public as the epidemic unfolds.

The WHO's International Health Regulations emergency committee will determine on Friday if the current outbreak constitutes a public heath event of international concern.

The discovery of a case in Mbandaka indicates the outbreak has entered a "new phase", the country's health minister, Dr. Oly Ilunga Kalenga, said Wednesday.

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So far, 23 people have reportedly died and until Thursday, there were more than 40 suspected or confirmed cases.

The spread of the virus from rural areas into a city has raised fears it could quickly spread and become harder to control.

Mr Salama, the WHO's deputy director-general for emergency response, said Mbandaka's location on the River Congo raised the prospect of Ebola spreading to Congo-Brazzaville and the Central African Republic, as well as downstream to Kinshasa, which has a population of 10 million. "WHO and our partners are taking decisive action to stop further spread of the virus".

According to the agency, 44 Ebola cases were reported in the country between April 4 and May 14 - 3 confirmed, 20 probable and 21 suspected.

Meanwhile, humanitarian organisation Doctors without Borders has intensified its response to the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The WHO will be deploying about 30 experts to scrutinise and inspect the city, is working along with the Ministry of Health and also believes in engaging with the communities to prevent and treat and report about new cases. World Health Organization says that the vaccinations will be administered soon in the coming weekend.

The first human outbreaks of Ebola occurred in 1976, one in the north of what is now Congo and in the region that is now South Sudan.

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