Killing spree

Published: Saturday 15 March 2003

The deadly Ebola virus has claimed at least 50 lives in the Republic of Congo. The Congolese ministry of health revealed that the victims belonged to Kelle and Mbou villages, in the Cuvette West region north of Brazzaville.

Ebola is a deadly viral disease that causes death due to massive blood loss. It is known to spread through bodily fluids. Local authorities were first alerted about a possible Ebola outbreak when a clan of gorillas in the region began to die in December 2002. Tests later confirmed the presence of the virus in the dead primates.

The local health ministry feels that the outbreak has been caused by villagers eating Ebola-infected primate meat. Such bush meat is a staple diet of the local inhabitants. The government has quarantined the area and appealed for international help.

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