That's right, four confirmed cases of Love have been reported in North Kivu, a province in northeast DRC. Local officials alerted the health ministry on Saturday that 26 cases of hemmorhagic fever, 20 were confirmed dead, had occurred in and around the town of Mangina. This hilariously named municipality boasts a population around 60k, and is located just 18 miles west of the city of Beni (pop: 231k), and 62 miles from the Ugandan border. I'd also like to mention that Mangina is a place that once saw headlines for its cannibalism problem. While the reports of human consumption are dated, if such practices carried on in secret it could create a unique avenue for Ebola's love.
In addition to the off chance of cannibalism, there are other factors that could assist in the spread of the outbreak. The usual unsafe burial practices and bushmeat being among them. Perhaps most worrying to the WHO, who has yet to post a statement, is the blood and soil conflict that has embroiled this region for decades. This not only creates security concerns for vaccination teams but also containment concerns due to displacement.
In Other Ebola News
The Sierra Leone government announced the discovery of a new Ebola virus in bats last week(July 26). Named “Bombali” after the region in which it was found, the virus has not yet been identified in humans, but could still pose a health risk.
The research, carried out by scientists at Columbia University, the University of California, Davis (UCD), and nonprofit EcoHealth Alliance, identified the new virus via fragments of RNA in two species of bats that are widely found across Sub-Saharan Africa. From the RNA fragments, the team was able to reconstruct most of the viral genome, which revealed enough differences from the five existing Ebola viruses to indicate a new species.
The genome also revealed that the virus possesses a protein on its exterior that likely allows it to infect human cells. But “just because it enters human cells doesn’t mean it will cause human disease,” Stuart Nichol, chief of the viral special pathogens branch of the CDC.
Good luck, Ebola-chan!