KINSHASA – The deadly Ebola outbreak that has ravaged eastern DR Congo for almost four months has claimed another 19 lives in just five days, the health minister said.
The outbreak, which began on August 1, has now killed 241 people, the minister said in a statement late Tuesday.
"There have been 241 deaths," the minister said in an update correct to November 26, indicating there had been a total of 421 cases – 374 of them confirmed, and another 47 likely.
Another 74 suspected cases are under investigation.
READ: Current Ebola outbreak is worst in Congo's history: minister
The outbreak is the tenth in DR Congo since Ebola was first detected there in 1976.
The crisis is centered around the restive eastern city of Beni in North Kivu, a region that has been blighted by armed conflict that has hampered efforts to curb the outbreak.
Ebola is a serious infectious disease that can spread rapidly through small amounts of fluid, causing internal bleeding and potentially death.
DR Congo is in the throes of a major campaign ahead of December 23 election to elect successor to President Joseph Kabila, who has ruled the vast central African country since 2001.
Since winning independence from Belgium in 1960, this poverty-stricken nation has never known a peaceful transition of power.