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September 21, 2017

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CDC raises travel alert for DR Congo on Ebola concerns

TAIPEI--The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) heightened a health advisory against travel to the Democratic Republic of the Congo Saturday from "watch" to "alert" on concern over the continued spread of the Ebola virus.

There have been 24 Ebola cases confirmed in the central African country as of Aug. 18, 13 of which have been fatal, the CDC said.

Although the outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is not related to the epidemic in West Africa, namely in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria, the travel alert upgrade was necessary due to the uncertain conditions of the country's health care, according to the CDC.

The CDC already raised its travel advisory Aug. 1 for Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone from "alert" to "warning" — the highest level — amid the outbreak there.

It raised the advisory from "watch" to "alert" for Nigeria on Aug. 6.

As of Aug. 26, the cumulative number of Ebola cases in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria stood at 3,069, with 1,552 deaths, according to the World Health Organization.

Under Taiwan's travel advisory system, a level 1 "watch" advisory urges those who are bound for certain destinations to exercise vigilance and take health precautions, while a level 2 "alert" calls for travelers to maintain a high degree of caution and take strengthened protective measures, especially when they visit certain high-risk places.

A Level-3 "warning" advises against travel to given destinations altogether.

The most recent outbreak of Ebola, the worst on record according to the WHO, is occurring primarily in remote villages in central and western Africa, near tropical rainforests.

The Ebola virus can cause severe viral hemorrhagic fever and has a fatality rate of up to 90 percent, the WHO said.

No licensed treatment or vaccine is available for people or animals.

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