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The new case of Ebola virus disease has been confirmed in Wangata, one of the three health zones of Mbandaka, a city of almost 1.2 million people in Equateur Province in northwestern Congo, the World Health Organization confirmed Thursday, CNN reported.

World Health Organization deputy director for emergency preparedness Peter Salama said urgent containment measures were needed.

The Democratic Republic of Congo now faces a "very high" public health risk from Ebola after the disease was confirmed in one patient in a major city, the World Health Organisation said on Friday.

The World Health Organization's efforts to curb the spread of an Ebola outbreak are on a war footing ahead of an emergency meeting it has called for to discuss worldwide risks, Reuters reported.

A total of 44 cases of Ebola have been reported in Congo in this outbreak: three confirmed, 20 probable and 21 suspected, according to WHO.

So far 23 people have reportedly died from the disease in the Congolese outbreak. A concurrent but much smaller and unrelated Ebola outbreak took place in Congo in 2014 as well.

It said the new death has epidemiologic ties to another case.

Only one of the 25 dead has been confirmed as Ebola, it said, adding that no new health professionals have been contaminated. It involves vaccinating contacts of cases and suspected cases, contacts of those contacts and health care and other front-line workers.

Now the disease has been reported in a highly populated urban area, it is expected to spread more quickly.

"We're certainly not trying to cause any panic in the national or global community", Salama said.

"This is a concerning development but we now have better tools than ever before to combat Ebola", Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, said of the new urban case.

Mbandaka, a city of nearly 1.2 million people, is in a busy travel corridor in Congo's northwest Equateur province and is upstream from the capital, Kinshasa, a city of about 10 million.

He said epidemiologists are working to identify additional contacts to the 500 already identified. "WHO and our partners are taking decisive action to stop further spread of the virus". Since then, an experimental vaccine has been developed, and 4,000 doses have arrived in the Congo, with thousands more to follow.

The vaccine, from pharmaceutical firm Merck, is unlicensed but was effective in limited trials during the West Africa outbreak.

This is Democratic Republic of Congo's ninth epidemic since the disease was identified in the 1970s, but also its most alarming because of the risk of transmission via regular river transport to the capital Kinshasa, a city of 10,000,000 people. The virus initially is transmitted to people from wild animals, including bats and monkeys.

Symptoms include fever, diarrhea, muscle pain and at times internal and external bleeding.

The virus is endemic to DRC, and causes an acute, serious illness, which is often fatal if untreated.

Information for this article was contributed by Jamey Keaten of The Associated Press.


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