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Haemorraghic fever could be tick-ing time bomb in Congo

13 people have died of mysterious fever in DRC since August 11th.
13 people have died of mysterious fever in DRC since August 11th.
Photo by Brent Stirton/Getty Images

While there have been no reported cases of Ebola (thus far) in the Democratic Republic of Congo, 13 people in the northwestern part of the country have reported died of a mysterious fever since August 11th.. Although health minister Dr Felix Kabange Numbi stated that all the victims “suffered from a fever, diarrhea, vomiting and, in a terminal stage, of vomiting a black matter," the World Health Organization as well as Doctors Without Borders (MSF) stated that it is still too early to tell whether they were stricken with haemorraghic fever.

"The same symptoms could be caused by serious malaria or even typhoid fever. We are still waiting for biological confirmation to find out what kind of disease this is," said Amandine Colin of MSF, which has teams in the affected territory of Boende, in Equator province.

In the meantime officials are monitoring approximately 80 people who came into contact with the deceased are being monitored at their homes, he added.

More formally known as Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever the virus is spread by at least 31 different species of ticks from the genera Haemaphysalis and Hyalomma, with known cases having been traced back to 3100-3500 years. Flu-like symtoms generally occur within 1-3 days following infection, and 5-6 days after exposure to infected blood or tissues, Initial symptoms may also include mood swings, agitation, mental confusion and broken capillaries in the throat, followed by nosebleeds, rainbow urine and vomiting, and black stools. The liver becomes swollen and painful. Disseminated intravascular coagulation may occur as well as acute kidney failure and shock, and sometimes acute respiratory distress syndrome. Although patients may start to exhibit signs of recovery after 9–10 days from