Ebola spreads to city, entering 3 health zones in Congo

KINSHASA, Congo — Congo’s health minister says Ebola has spread to a city, the capital of Equateur province, a worrying shift in the new outbreak in the northwest.

Health Minister Oly Ilunga late Wednesday said two suspected cases of hemorrhagic fever were reported in the Wangata health zones, which includes Mbandaka city, about 150 kilometers (93 miles) from Bikoro, the rural area where the outbreak began.

He said one sample proved positive for the deadly Ebola virus, bringing to three the number of confirmed Ebola cases in three health zones.

Ilunga said Congo now is entering an urban phase of the outbreak, with higher spread potential. He said epidemiologists are working to identify additional contacts to the 500 already identified.

Congo has reported 23 deaths among the 42 suspected, probable and confirmed cases.

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