Three new Ebola cases confirmed in eastern Congo

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An MSF medical worker, wearing protective clothing relays patient details and updates behind a barrier to a colleague at an MSF facility in Kailahun, on August 15, 2014. Kailahun along with Kenama district is at the epicentre of the world's worst Ebola outbreak. The World Health Organisation (WHO) revealed that the latest death toll from the Ebola virus in Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria had claimed more than1000 lives. Health Organisations are looking into the possible use of experimental drugs to combat the latest outbreak in West Africa. AFP PHOTO/Carl de Souza (Photo by CARL DE SOUZA / AFP) (Photo by CARL DE SOUZA/AFP via Getty Images)

Three new Ebola cases have been confirmed in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, bringing the total to five in the last 10 days, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday.

Health officials have said the latest flare-up of the virus appeared to be linked to the massive 2018-20 outbreak, which killed more than 2,200 people and infected more than 1,000 others.

The cases were detected on Saturday in the health district of Butsili, close to the city of Beni where the last outbreak was centered, the WHO said in a statement. Three people out of the five confirmed cases have died.

Flare-ups after a major Ebola outbreak can be caused by latent infections that linger in the semen of survivors. Another cluster of cases linked to the 2018-20 epidemic broke out in February and was contained by May after six deaths.

Vaccines have been a game-changer in containing recent outbreaks more quickly. Last week medics began vaccinating contacts of the cases using a shot manufactured by Merck. It is one of two available Ebola vaccines, the other made by Johnson & Johnson.

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