DRC: New Ebola deaths confirmed, dozens believed infected

KINSHASA - Ebola is suspected to have caused as many as 33 deaths during the latest outbreak of the virus in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the health ministry said.

Thirteen cases of the virus were confirmed across northeastern North Kivu province and neighbouring Ituri province, DRC's health minister said in a statement on Saturday, with another 30 "probable" cases registered.

Three people were confirmed killed by the virus and 30 suspected Ebola deaths are being investigated since the outbreak was declared on Wednesday.

Laboratory examinations aimed at determining whether the "probable" cases tested positive for Ebola, which has no proven cure, were ongoing.

Almost 900 "contacts" - meaning people who may have come into contact with an infected person - have been registered by the health ministry.

Vaccinations were being deployed to the city of Beni, in North Kivu province, the statement said.

However, an "active conflict" in the area could prove to be a "major barrier" to health workers safely accessing the affected population, Peter Salama, a senior World Health Organization (WHO) official, warned last week.

WHO released $2m from its contingency fund for emergencies to help fund DRC's response to the newest outbreak.

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