Ebola vaccine arrives in DR Congo amid outbreak

Ebola outbreak spreads to urban area as deaths mount

First confirmed urban Ebola case is a 'game changer' in Congo outbreak

According to the report, Health minister Oly Ilunga late on Wednesday said that two suspected cases of haemorrhagic fever were reported in the Wangata health zones, which includes Mbandaka city, about 150 kilometres (93 miles) from Bikoro, the rural area where the outbreak began.

"One new case of Ebola virus disease has been confirmed in Wangata, one of the three health zones of Mbandaka, a city of almost 1.2 million people in Equateur Province in northwestern Democratic Republic of the Congo", the UN's health agency said in a statement.

The World Health Organisation, which is deploying vaccines in the country, had expressed concern about the disease reaching the north-western city, which would make the outbreak, already believed to have killed 23 people, far harder to tackle.

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Authorities said they were tracing all air, river, and road routes in and out of the city to find the source of the virus.

"The arrival of Ebola in an urban area is very concerning and WHO and partners are working together to rapidly scale up the search for all contacts of the confirmed case in the Mbandaka area", said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.

As of 15 May, a total of 44 Ebola virus disease cases have been reported: 3 confirmed, 20 probable, and 21 suspected.

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Thousands of doses of an experimental Ebola vaccine arrived in Congo's capital this week, the health ministry said Wednesday. Health workers would be among the first to receive vaccinations, according to Ilunga.

The worst-ever Ebola outbreak started in December 2013 in southern Guinea before spreading to neighbouring west African countries Liberia and Sierra Leone, killing more than 11,300 people out of almost 29,000 registered cases.

Supplies sent to Congo included more than 300 body bags for safe burials in affected communities.

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