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Last Updated

16 Mar 2003

Source: Reuters, March 15, 2003

Ebola Death Toll in Congo Keeps Climbing

BRAZZAVILLE (Reuters) - Six more people have been killed by the Ebola virus in Congo Republic, taking the death toll in the central African country's latest outbreak to 106, the government said on Saturday.

A health ministry source also told Reuters some workers toiling to stop the spread of the lethal disease were among the victims, but the outbreak was being brought under control.

Ebola killed 73 people in Gabon and in the same remote forests of Congo in an epidemic from October, 2001, to February, 2002, but experts fear this outbreak is more virulent.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday it had recorded 118 cases, meaning that 90 percent of those infected by Ebola had died.

The disease is passed on by infected body fluids and kills between 50 and 90 percent of sufferers, depending on the strain. It starts with a high fever and headache and can lead to massive internal bleeding.

There is no known cure for Ebola and the authorities have battled the disease by cordoning off affected areas and trying to stop locals eating primates believed to be infected by Ebola.

Bush meat is a staple among remote forest communities and deemed a delicacy in many cities. The WHO said a workshop had been organized in the capital Brazzaville to train doctors and nurses to deal with viral hemorrhagic fever patients.

The disease takes its name from a river in the Democratic Republic of Congo where it was discovered in 1976. The worst outbreak was in that country in 1995 when more than 250 people died.