Congo's year-long Ebola outbreak has spread to a new province, with two cases confirmed in South Kivu, according to the government health ministry. Two new patients have tested positive in the Mwenga area of South Kivu, adding to North Kivu and Ituri provinces where there are confirmed cases of the disease, according to the health authorities.
The spread of confirmed cases to a third province shows that health workers have struggled to contain the outbreak, despite the use of a vaccine. Many people in eastern Congo do not trust doctors and other medical staff. Last month, the virus reached the region's largest city of Goma on the Rwandan border, which is home to nearly two million people.
The Ebola outbreak in eastern Congo has killed 1,808 people out of 2,765 confirmed cases, according to the new report. The current outbreak, which started on Aug. 1 last year, is the second largest in history. After the first person to contract the disease in Goma died last month, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak an international health emergency. Rwanda and other neighboring countries – South Sudan, Uganda and Burundi – are now on high alert. The WHO has recommended against travel restrictions amid the outbreak but says the risk of regional spread is "very high."
The Ebola virus causes fever, vomiting and severe diarrhea, often followed by kidney and liver failure, internal and external bleeding. The disease is spread by contact with infected bodily fluids and is fought with time-honored but laborious techniques of tracing contacts and quarantining them. This outbreak is the 10th since Ebola was identified in 1976.