Regional countries are poised to put in place stringent health awareness measures after an Ebola epidemic was declared in neighbouring DR Congo yesterday.
The World Health Organisation confirmed three people had died in the northeastern part of the country today.
A spokesperson from the WHO said the latest outbreak is being taken ‘very seriously’ after announcing the first death.
The announcement comes after the deadly virus swept across much of west Africa in 2014 and 2015 leaving thousands dead.
The last outbreak of Ebola in Congo was in 2014 and dozens of people died.
Ebola is an RNA virus, similar to HIV and influenza, and as such it has a high rate of mutation.
People can only catch Ebola by coming into contact with the bodily fluids – urine, vomit, diarrhoea – of an infected individual.
It is not an airborne disease, and as such cannot be transmitted through infected people coughing or breathing in open spaces.
Why Ebola is so dangerous
Ebola is a viral illness of which the initial symptoms can include a sudden fever, intense weakness, muscle pain and a sore throat, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). And that is just the beginning: subsequent stages are vomiting, diarrhoea and – in some cases – both internal and external bleeding.
The disease infects humans through close contact with infected animals, including chimpanzees, fruit bats and forest antelope.
It then spreads between humans by direct contact with infected blood, bodily fluids or organs, or indirectly through contact with contaminated environments. Even funerals of Ebola victims can be a risk, if mourners have direct contact with the body of the deceased.