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Miracle newborn baby survives Ebola

MIRACLE: Baby Benedicte pictured with those who cared for her (Image: Ministère de la Santé RDC)

A NEWBORN baby who was diagnosed with Ebola when she was a week old has survived.

The baby, who has been named Benedicte, survived her mother who was infected with the virus and died during childbirth.

A spokeswoman for the Democratic Republic of Congo health ministry told the BBC: "Her father, Thomas, was very emotional… she is his first baby.”

Baby Benedicte’s survival is being praised as a miracle because of the low survival rates among babies and children infected with the deadly virus. Around 50 per cent of adults who contract the illness die.

Locals are referring to the baby, who was diagnosed at just six days old, as the “miracle of Beni”.

Medical staff treated her 24-hours a day over five weeks to save her life, the BBC reported.

The World Health Organization has described the current outbreak in the DRC as occurring in an “unforgiving context”.

Around 300 people have died as a result of contracting the virus in the DRC and more than 500 people are believed to have been infected with Ebola.

In a statement the WHO, which is scaling up its response to the spread of the virus, said: “Non-engagement from communities and conflict continue to hamper response activities in some affected areas. Moreover, poor infection prevention and control (IPC) practices across numerous private and public health centers remain a major source of amplification of the outbreak and risk to health and other frontline workers.”

Despite the outbreak, the WHO has not called for travel or trade restrictions to be imposed. It has advised travellers to the country to seek medical advice before visiting and to practice good hygiene.

The Ebola virus was first identified in 1976 near the Ebola River in the DRC. An often fatal illness, it is transmitted from human to human via bodily fluids. There is currently no vaccine for the virus. Patients are mostly treated with supportive care, fluid replacement therapy and closely monitored by health workers.

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