New Ebola Outbreak in Congo, Already Hit by Measles and Coronavirus

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New Ebola Outbreak in Congo, Already Hit by Measles and Coronavirus

Five people have died in Mbandaka, a western city more than 750 miles away from another Ebola outbreak in the country. It is unclear how the disease emerged in the city during lockdown.

An ebola treatment center in Mangima, a town outside of Beni in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, last year. Experts are trying to understand how the disease has now emerged in the west while the country is under travel restrictions because of the coronavirus.Credit…Finbarr O’Reilly for The New York Times

DAKAR, Senegal — A fresh outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus has flared up in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a country that was already contending with the world’s largest measles epidemic, as well as the coronavirus.

Congo’s health ministry said that the new Ebola outbreak has killed four people, and infected at least two more, in Mbandaka, a city of 1.2 million people on the country’s western side. A fifth person died on Monday, according to UNICEF, the United Nations agency for children.

Less than two months ago, Congo was about to declare an official end to an Ebola epidemic on the eastern side of the country that had lasted nearly two years and killed more than 2,275 people. Then, with just two days to go, a new case was found, and the outbreak could not be declared over. But officials say it is in its final stages.

It is unclear how Ebola emerged in Mbandaka, which is about 750 miles west of the nearly-vanquished outbreak on the country’s eastern edge. Congo (formerly known as Zaire) is the largest country in sub-Saharan Africa, and has been under travel restrictions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

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