KINSHASA, Aug 20 (Reuters) – Democratic Republic of Congo has sent its health minister and a team of experts to the remote northern Equateur province after several people died there from a disease with Ebola-like symptoms, a local official and a professor said on Wednesday.
It was not immediately clear if there was any connection with Ebola. An epidemic of that disease has killed more than 1,200 people in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria.
“An illness is spreading in Boende but we don’t know the origin,” said Michel Wangi, a spokesman for the governor’s office. “The government has sent a team of experts from the INRB(National Institute of Biomedical Research) this morning led by the health minister (Felix) Kabange Numbi and acting governor Sebastian Impeto.”
A professor accompanying the delegation in the presidential plane confirmed that they were en route this morning to find out “the exact nature of the illness that caused the Boende deaths”.
An Equateur resident who asked not to be named said that around ten people had died, including four health care workers, after suffering from fever, diarrhoea and bleeding from the ears and nostrils – all symptoms of the deadly Ebola virus.