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... and a virulent new Ebola strain rears its ugly head in DRC

World

... and a virulent new Ebola strain rears its ugly head in DRC

Cause for concern as three cases suffer acute bleeding, while resistance to isolation, vaccines slows progress

Antony Sguazzin and Janice Kew

The strain of Ebola virus that killed all three people known to have caught it in the Democratic Republic of the Congo since April may be more virulent, according to a non-profit group that runs three treatment centres there.

An acute loss of blood was the first symptom observed in all three patients reported in the DRC’s remote northwestern province of Equateur, said Baweye Mayoum Barka, the incoming mission head in the country for the Alliance for International Medical Actions. That’s unlike cases seen during the previous two outbreaks there, in which most began with fever or fatigue and only about 15% of patients haemorrhaged, he said.

Genetic sequencing of the virus responsible for the latest outbreak indicates it’s unlike the strain that sparked larger epidemics in 2018 and 2020, Mayoum Barka said. Those outbreaks affected about 180 people, according to the World Health Organisation. ..

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