Congo’s health ministry says Ebola spreads to 2nd province

Congo’s latest deadly Ebola outbreak has spread into a neighboring province, the health ministry said Tuesday, as health workers began using an experimental treatment for the disease.

Health officials are hoping the mAb114 therapy, isolated from a survivor of an Ebola outbreak in 1995, will be effective in this outbreak that so far has 30 confirmed cases including 14 deaths.

Experts await the approval of several other experimental treatments, the health ministry said.

The outbreak spread from North Kivu province into neighboring Ituri province in Congo’s turbulent northeast when a man who was treated for heart problems in Mangina, where the outbreak was declared Aug. 1, returned home, the health ministry said. He has since died and tests confirmed he had Ebola.

Vaccinations began last week in Mangina and Beni, the major town about 30 kilometers (18 miles) away where Ebola treatment centers have been set up. Health authorities are using what is called a ring vaccination technique in which health workers are vaccinated first, along with contacts of Ebola patients and their contacts.

The work is challenged by the presence of several armed groups in the densely populated region close to the Uganda border. The World Health Organization has called for secure access to all affected populations.

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