The Democratic Republic of Congo in Central Africa is where we start today's show. What's happening there is alarming medical officials around the world. The latest outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus has spread to a large city.
Previously, it had been limited to a rural area, but now, a case has been confirmed in the Congolese city of Mbandaka. It's where more than 1.2 million people live. The DRC's health minister says the outbreak has entered a new phase.
This is significant because Ebola could spread more quickly in a highly populated area and it'd be harder to control. As of last night, 44 cases of the hemorrhagic fever had been reported in the Democratic Republic of Congo and 23 people had died from it. On average, the Ebola virus kills half the people it infects.
But while the World Health Organization says the fact that it's spreading is concerning. It also says medical officials have better tools than ever to fight Ebola. One of those tools is an experimental vaccine. It hasn't been approved for use in the U.S. But the World Health Organization says it has been shown to be safe in humans and highly effective against the Ebola virus.
So, it sent 4,000 doses, along with emergency workers and equipment to the DRC. International medical teams are also making sure health centers and isolation wards there are ready to receive patients. Ebola mostly affects people, monkeys, gorillas and chimpanzees. The virus was first identified in this same part of Africa in 1976.
People can catch Ebola if they come into contact with body fluids or something contaminated by an infected person. They can also be exposed by butchering infected animals.
But as CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta tells us, people can't catch it through the air.