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updated: 9/8/2012 1:40 PM

Ebola virus spreads in eastern Congo

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Associated Press

GOMA, Congo -- Officials in eastern Congo say the Ebola epidemic has spread to a second center after a woman was contaminated during the funeral of a victim of the disease and travelled back to her home. The health officials say 15 people have died since the beginning of the epidemic.

Congolese authorities are warning the population of the risks linked to the washing and displaying of dead bodies, a tradition that is widespread in Africa. The practice facilitates the spread of the deadly hemorrhagic fever. Around 170 people are currently under surveillance after they came into contact with infected patients.

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Ebola was first discovered in Congo in 1976 and has no cure. The disease causes severe internal bleeding and is fatal in 40 percent to 90 percent of cases.

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