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MS Risk Blog
The Democratic Republic of Congo has confirmed the first Ebola death, indicating that 11 people have been confirmed to be infected. The WHO is reporting that at least 17 people have died since inhabitants of the village of Ikon Impenge, near the northwestern town of Bikoro in the country’s northwest began showing symptoms resembling Ebola in December 2017. Those cases however were never confirmed through testing.
While the DRC has had a long experience with Ebola, and its remote gregraphy has meant that outbreaks have often been localized and relatively easy to isolate, Ikoko Impenge and Bikoro are located not far from the banks of the Congo River, which is a major artery for trade and transport upstream from the capital Kinshasaa. Also the Republic of Congo is located just on the other side of the river.
This outbreak has already prompted concerns regionally, with Nigeria’s immigration service announcing that it has increased screening tests at airports and other entry points as a precautionary measure, a move similar to the measures that were implemented during the Ebola epidemic in 2013. Guinea and Gambia have also heightened screening measures along their borders, and other countries may follow with similar measures in the coming days.