DR Congo ebola outbreak kills 10, says medical charity

Coloured transmission electron micrograph (TEM) of a number of Ebola viruses, the cause of Ebola fever. The virus, which is transmitted to humans from both monkeys and birds, causes massive internal bleeding

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Ten people have died after contracting a strain of the deadly ebola virus in the Democratic Republic of Congo, medical charity MSF said.

The charity said there were a further six confirmed or probable cases in the town of Isiro.

The outbreak, involving the Bundibugyo strain, was first reported last week after one person had died.

Last month an outbreak of a more deadly ebola strain in neighbouring Uganda killed 16 people.

The DR Congo outbreak occurred in Oriental province, which shares a border with Uganda.

Medicins sans Frontieres (MSF) has said that the two outbreaks may not be related.

It is not clear when exactly the deaths in Isiro occurred.

'Very dangerous'

A medical coordinator for MSF, Anja de Weggheleire, told the BBC the Bundibugyo strain was still dangerous, if less fatal than the one detected in Uganda.

"It is normally less mortal and less virulent then the one we have seen in other places... But still it stays a very dangerous and mortal disease... we expect normally figures around 25 to 35% mortality," Ms Weggheleire said.

The charity says its staff in the affected area in north-east DR Congo are taking measures to locate and isolate anyone who has been in contact with those infected.

Experts have said that Isiro's position as a transit point could make an outbreak more challenging to control.

The virus, which is transmitted to humans from both monkeys and birds, causes massive internal bleeding and has a very high mortality rate.

It is one of the most virulent diseases in the world and is spread by close personal contact.

There is no vaccine for the virus and symptoms of infection include a sudden onset of fever, weakness, headache, vomiting and kidney problems.

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