Skip to main content

The First Urban Ebola Case Has Been Confirmed in the Congo

The government of the Congo has confirmed a case of Ebola in a large urban area, the Washington Post reports. The disease's presence in Mbandaka, population 1.2 million, is the first non-rural case in what appears to be a new epidemic of the notoriously contagious disease.

The two earlier confirmed cases of this outbreak had been found in a sparsely populated area 100 miles south of Mbandaka. A World Health Organization official told the Post that the disease's arrival in a densely populated city is "a game changer," given the increased risk of infection.

There have been 44 other suspected—but not yet officially confirmed—cases in the Congo, and 23 people have died. The 2014 outbreak of Ebola in West Africa infected 28,000 people and killed 11,000.

The pharmaceutical company Merck has developed an experimental vaccine for the disease. The Post reports that the first 4,000 injections arrived in the Congo on Wednesday.