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Congo Ebola Outbreak Possibly Brought On by Monkeys January 8, 2009
Doctors Without Borders staff treating suspected Ebola victims.
Doctors Without Borders staff in protective gear work in an isolation unit for patients suspected of having Ebola in Kaluamba, Kasai Province.
A dead monkey found in a forest of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) could be one of the sources behind the recent outbreak of Ebola in the country’s southwestern Kasai province.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says that improper handling of dead monkeys felled by the virus could have infected hunters and women who came in contact with the simians.

According to WHO statistics, three cases of the hemorrhagic fever have recently been recorded in the DRC, with at least another 36 suspected cases that include 12 deaths possibly linked to the disease.

This is the second outbreak of its kind in just over a year in Kasai, where the current emergence claimed its first life on November 27, 2008.

Doctors Without Borders says it has hired and trained a dozen local “home visitors” to help reduce the spread of the outbreak.

The new local staff will identify and follow up with those who have had any contact with the disease. Currently, there are 184 people who must be tracked.

Photo: Doctors Without Borders - Médecins Sans Frontières