Monday, May 16, 2005

Monkey meat may have started virus outbreak

Nine people have died from an infection caused by an Ebola-like virus in the north-western reaches of the Republic of Congo, travel health specialist Dr Andrew Jamieson warned on Monday.

According to health authorities at least 11 people have contracted the disease since May 4.

The outbreak occurred in the Itoumbi and Mbomo districts, located 700km and 900km north west of Congois capital city, Brazzaville.

Besides being a danger to people living in the area, the warning was also important for people travelling to the region, which borders North West Angola where there are many South Africans working in the diamond industry.

"The first cases apparently appeared among Itoumbi villagers who had gone elephant hunting and who touched and ate a dead monkey they found in the forest," Jamieson said.

Story here.

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