In a press briefing today by the UN Information Service, Tarik Jasarevic said concerning the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) Ebola outbreak:

Ebola virus/CDC
Ebola virus/CDC

“The WHO had been notified by the Ministry of Health of positive tests of two samples for Ebola in the province of Equator. Further tests were being currently conducted to identify the strain. WHO was working with several partners in the DRC to set up a rapid response. There had been 24 unexplained cases of hemorragic fever, 13 of which had resulted in deaths. It appeared to be an unrelated indigenous strain of Ebola but this still needed to be confirmed.”

Jasatevic said an update in the form of a situation report was expected to be delivered later in the day.

The WHO also reported that not only is the West African Ebola outbreak unprecedented in terms of number of infected and number of deaths, but also the number of health care workers that have been infected.

To date, more than 240 health care workers have developed the disease in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone, and more than 120 have died.

Ebola has taken the lives of prominent doctors in Sierra Leone and Liberia, depriving these countries not only of experienced and dedicated medical care but also of inspiring national heroes.

Several factors help explain the high proportion of infected medical staff. These factors include shortages of personal protective equipment or its improper use, far too few medical staff for such a large outbreak, and the compassion that causes medical staff to work in isolation wards far beyond the number of hours recommended as safe, the WHO notes. For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page