World Health Organization says Ebola outbreak has spread to DR Congo city

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WHO Deputy Director-General for Emergency Preparedness and Response Peter Salama had told reporters on Thursday that the risk assessment was being reviewed.

A single case of Ebola was confirmed in Mbandaka, a densely populated provincial capital on the Congo River, Congo's Health Minister Oly Ilunga said late Wednesday.

The fresh Ebola outbreak, publicly declared on May 8 with 23 deaths so far, was first reported in a rural part of Equateur Province in the vast country's northwest but has now spread to the city of Mbandaka.

A ministry statement late Thursday said that the total number of Ebola cases is now 45, including 10 suspected, 21 probable and 14 confirmed.

"This puts a whole different lens on this outbreak and gives us increased urgency to move very quickly into Mbandaka to stop this new first sign of transmission", he said.

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It said the new death has epidemiologic ties to another case. No details were given on the death's links to the newly confirmed case.

Ilunga said of the current 25 deaths, only one has been confirmed as Ebola, adding that no new health professionals have been contaminated. One nurse had died, and three others were among suspected cases since the outbreak began.

The WHO has deployed doses of the experimental vaccine along with emergency teams and equipment Congo. "Urban Ebola can result in an exponential increase in cases in a way that rural Ebola struggles to do".

But WHO advised against any restriction of travel and trade to the Democratic Republic of the Congo based on the now available information.

Aid organization Doctors Without Borders said 514 people believed to have been in contact with infected people are being monitored.

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The agency said it was deploying around 30 experts to Mbandaka "to conduct surveillance in the city".

It will be used to protect health workers and "rings" of contacts around each case. It says no global travel restrictions are in place.

The Ebola vaccine called rVSV-ZEBOV - has been shown to be safe in humans and highly effective against the virus, according to the WHO. Under the supervision are already more than five hundred people.

This is the ninth outbreak of Ebola in DR Congo - it was named after the country's Ebola river. Symptoms include fever, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle pain and at times internal and external bleeding.

The virus is endemic to DRC, and causes an acute, serious illness, which is often fatal if untreated.

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