People are dying from the hemorrhagic gastroenteritis illness in the Democratic Republic of Congo, with close to 600 people contracting this disease. The death toll is at 70 out of the hundreds who have fallen ill, according to Travelers Today, Aug 22.
The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that “this is not Ebola.” The organization made this point very clear in an email sent to Reuters, reports Yahoo News today. Despite the hemorrhagic illness originating from the province of Equateur, where in 1976 the first case off Ebola was discovered in this secluded forest area, WHO says that it is not Ebola reports MSN News today.
The symptoms of this illness include internal bleeding, vomiting and diarrhea, which are symptoms that are also present in Ebola, sparking concerns that the Ebola outbreak has now spread into a new area. When the reports of the 70 deaths were first reported speculation surfaced that the disease Ebola, which has taken 1,350 lives in West Africa, was now raging in the Congo.
WHO has made sure to dispel those concerns, although further testing is being done with samples taken from the victims in the Congo. While two diseases do share similar symptoms, the fatality rate for people who contract the hemorrhagic illness is at 12%, with Ebola showing a 60% rate of death among its victims.
WHO reports that four samples of hemorrhagic illness from the Congo will be flown in for more testing, departing from Boende top Kinshasa on Friday. This is on the heels of Health Minister Felix Kabange Numbie and a team of experts arriving in Kinshasa, which is the largest city and capitol of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The team went to the affected region on Wednesday after they received reports of “several deaths,” which is now numbered at 70, according to Yahoo News today.
While WHO reports the death toll at 70 from this outbreak of the hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, a priest from one of the villages in the area of the outbreak claims that he estimates the death toll to be more than 100 people. The priest asked that his name not be revealed.