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Ebola is back in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Ebola has surfaced again in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Reuters reports. The DRC Ministry of Health announced today that two people near the city of Bikoro in Equateur province, which borders the Republic of Congo, have confirmed cases of the deadly disease. In all, 21 people seen by the health center over the past 5 weeks have had suspected cases of viral hemorrhagic fever, and 17 have died. Outbreaks of Ebola have only occurred two dozen times since Ebola first was recognized in the DRC in 1976; this is the ninth outbreak to emerge in the DRC. They typically are contained by infectious disease control methods, but a West African epidemic exploded in 2014, sickening more than 28,000 people and killing 11,000 before it ended. An Ebola vaccine that worked well in a clinical trial in Guinea held in 2015 has yet to be approved by regulatory authorities but could be used under emergency protocols.

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