Ghana finally issues Ebola alert after deaths in Congo

Zambia on increased alert after Ebola outbreak in DRC

The first death from the lethal infectious disease was confirmed by Democratic Republic of Congo's (DRC) Health Minister Oly Ilunga on Thursday.

The outbreak declaration was made after laboratory results confirmed two cases of Ebola out of a sample of five suspected patients, World Health Organization said. "Twenty-one cases of fever with haemorrhagic signs and 17 deaths" were recorded with a fatality rate of 80%, says a statement of the Ministry of Health, which describes the situation as an "international public health emergency".

Dr Serge Ngalebato, Bikoro Hospital director, tells The Associated Press that two nurses who were in contact with patients are among the five suspected cases.

Ngaleto said of all cases so far reported, seven were now in the hospital in Bikoro.

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The Nigeria football federation (NFF) may cancel the already scheduled global friendly match between the Super Eagles of Nigeria and Democratic Republic of Congo following a fresh outbreak of Ebola in the central African country.

The epidemic so far appears to be centred around the village of Ikoko Impenge, near the town of Bikoro.

The Ebola cases were confirmed after officials in the capital, Kinshasa, were alerted early this month to the deaths of 17 people from a hemorrhagic fever in recent weeks.

An Ebola outbreak has been declared in the north-west of the Democratic Republic Congo.

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In December 2016, trials of an Ebola vaccine, with funders including Wellcome, DFID and the Norwegian Government, confirmed it provides a high level of protection against a strain of the deadly disease. He said:"We are sending a signal to all entry points in the country". It is in the DRC that the Ebola virus was discovered in 1976.

Congo's long experience of Ebola and its remote geography mean outbreaks are often localised and relatively easy to isolate.

Ebola is best known and most feared for the internal and external bleeding it can cause in its victims, owing to damage done to blood vessels. Similar measures helped Africa's most populous country contain the virus during the West African epidemic that began in 2013.

Ikoko Impenge is located in the northwestern portion of the country near the Congo River, which is a major trade and transportation route.

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