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Friday, May 14, 1999 Published at 14:55 GMT 15:55 UK


Health

Ebola-like virus 'under control'

The Marburg virus has killed 61 people in DRC

Health officials claim to have brought a deadly Ebola-type virus under control in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says the outbreak of the rare Marburg virus has killed 61 people.

This is slightly fewer people than had been claimed in previous reports.

The WHO says the last reported death was on 23 April.

A WHO-led team of experts in the DRC is to pull out by the end of the week "if all goes to plan".

After announcing on Thursday that the virus had spread to Zimbabwe, Harare health officials announced that tests on the three reported victims had proved negative.

Soldiers

All three are reported to be members of the military.

Thousands of Zimbabwe troops have been crossing into DRC to support president Laurent Kabila as he attempts to put down a rebel uprising.

The rebels are based in the northeast of the country where the Marburg virus outbreak is reported to have taken place.

Most victims work in the region's gold mines.

The Marburg virus was first identified in Germany in 1967. Since then, there have been two reported outbreaks in Europe and three in Africa.

It causes a deadly haemorrhagic fever, but does not appear to be as virulent as Ebola, which it ressembles.

Ebola, which was identified in 1976, is said to kill 80% of its victims through heavy internal bleeding and fever.

The worst outbreak of Ebola was in the DRC, then Zaire, in 1995 which killed about 220 people.



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