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Yambuku is a small village in Mongala District in northern Democratic Republic of the Congo (previously Zaire) and was the site of the first known outbreak of the Ebola Zaire strain of the Ebola hemorrhagic fever virus. It is about 600 miles (1000 km) north of the capital city of Kinshasa.
The first known appearance of Ebola virus was on 26 August 1976, in this rural village on the Ebola River. In all, 318 cases were identified of which 280 died. (An additional 284 cases and 151 deaths occurred in nearby Sudan.) The small Yambuku hospital was closed after 11 of its 17 staff members died. Belgian nuns serving the community were also infected, and two of them died, along with a Zairian nurse, after the group was transported to Kinshasa. With WHO assistance, the outbreak was eventually contained by quarantining local villagers in their communities, sterilizing medical equipment and providing protective clothing to medical personnel. The small Congolese air force provided helicopters to allow the outbreak team to visit 550 villages in the area.
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