UN employee in eastern Congo tests positive for Ebola: UN memo

UN employee in eastern Congo tests positive for Ebola: UN memo

GOMA, Democratic Republic of Congo: A United Nations employee in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo has tested positive for Ebola, the first such incident during the current outbreak, the head of the U.N. peacekeeping mission (MONUSCO) there said on Friday in a letter to staff.

"I am writing today to inform you that my leadership team and I have regretfully just received news that a U.N. colleague based in Beni has tested positive for Ebola, and is now receiving the necessary medical treatment," Leila Zerrougui wrote in the letter seen by Reuters.

Zerrougui said the employee had not been to work for several weeks and that tracing the person's contacts had begun immediately.

A MONUSCO spokeswoman declined to comment, saying the mission was only communicating internally on the matter for the time being.

The Ebola outbreak in Congo's eastern borderlands with Uganda and Rwanda has worsened markedly in recent weeks due to community resistance to health workers and insecurity caused by rebel groups active in the area.

The health ministry said in a statement on Friday that five more confirmed cases and five new deaths had been recorded. That brings the total number of deaths to 130 and confirmed or probable cases to 205 since July.

Ebola is a haemorrhagic fever that spreads through contact with the bodily fluids of its victims and typically kills about half of those it infects.

A senior World Health Organization official told Reuters on Thursday that he expected the outbreak to last at least another three or four months and said it could spread to Uganda or Rwanda.

(Writing by Aaron Ross; Editing by Kevin Liffey and Andrew Heavens)

Source: Reuters

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