KINSHASA (AA) – At least 31 people in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) had died of the deadly Ebola virus, Congolese Health Minister Felix Kabange said Tuesday.
The outbreak started last month in the Equateur province, about 800 kilometers northeast of capital Kinshasa, prompting the authorities to seal off the affected area where more than 50 confirmed cases are currently receiving treatment, Kabange told a press conference with officials from the World Health Organization.
Nearly 200 others are under surveillance over suspicion that they might have contracted the virus, he noted.
The isolation of the worst affected area in the province, Boende Region, is expected to limit the spread of the outbreak, the minister said.
The U.N. had already allocated $1.5 million to help the country fight Ebola.
In recent months, Ebola – a contagious disease for which there is no known treatment or cure – has claimed 1,552 lives in West Africa, mostly in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia.
The tropical fever, which first appeared in 1976 in Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo, can be transmitted to humans from wild animals.
It also reportedly spreads through contact with the body fluids of infected persons or of those who have died of the disease.
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