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  • iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Three Ebola patients escaped from quarantine in a port city of nearly 1.2 million people in the Democratic Republic of Congo this week, amid the country's growing outbreak, health officials said.Two of the patients have since died. The third was found alive and is back under observation in the city of Mbandaka, according to Tarik Jasarevic, a spokesman for the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva."It is unfortunate but not unexpected," Jasarevic told ABC News in an email today. "It is normal for people to want the loved ones to be at home during what could be the last moments of life."WHO staff in the Democratic Republic of Congo have "redoubled" their efforts to trace everyone who came into contact with the three patients, Jasarevic added."Because Ebola virus is not like any other disease and because exposure to the dead body or bodily fluids or personal items of the person who died of Ebola can spread the disease, it is important for us to be able to explain these issues to the family members," he added. "We are working with local community leaders, traditional leaders and healers, and religious leaders to better engage with communities so that we understand each other better and can work together in stopping the outbreak."Convincing residents in the Central African nation to seek treatment and utilize safe practices to prevent the spread of the deadly disease is a challenge. Many of them follow religious and traditional practices, especially during funerals, which are not necessarily aligned with health recommendations.Those who live in more rural and remote areas may not believe Ebola is real or that Western medicine can help.So the country's health ministry and its international partners, such as the WHO and Oxfam, are conducting awareness campaigns by organizing community dialogues and going door-to-door to advise people on what hygiene precautions to take in times of outbreaks."We hear people having doubts and worries about the epidemic,” Jose Barahona, Oxfam's country director in the Democratic Republic of Congo, said.“Some people don't believe in the Ebola virus or in the medication provided; others are afraid of it. We have seen cases of people leaving hospitals and refusing care, which could have dramatic consequences. There are also some traditional practices concerning the handling and burial of dead bodies that can increase the risk of transmission after death."Ebola virus disease, a type of viral hemorrhagic fever, spreads through direct contact with bodily fluids of infected people.There is no specific treatment for Ebola. Symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, muscle pain and, as the disease worsens, it can cause vomiting diarrhea, rash and bruising or bleeding without an injury.There are several kinds of hemorrhagic fever in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the country's health ministry has noted; thus, not all suspected cases are necessarily Ebola.The region's ongoing Ebola outbreak was only in its second week when a single case was confirmed in Wangata, one of the three health zones of Mbandaka, the capital of the northwestern Equateur province. It was the first time in the current outbreak that a case was detected and confirmed in an urban health zone, with all other cases reported in remote, rural areas of Equateur province.By the end of last week, the number of confirmed Ebola cases in Mbandaka city had jumped to four. Three suspected cases have also been recorded there, according to the country's health ministry."We are entering a new phase of the Ebola outbreak that is now affecting three health zones, including an urban health zone," the Democratic Republic of Congo's Minister of Health Oly Ilunga Kalenga said in a statement in French last week.The health minister did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment today about the patients’ escaping quarantine in Mbandaka.Situated along the Congo River, Mbandaka is a densely populated
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(CAIRO) -- A prominent Egyptian blogger and human rights defender was arrested today, making him the latest in a campaign that has taken several secular activists into custody this month.Egyptian security forces raided Wael Abbas’ Cairo apartment at dawn without showing a warrant or giving a reason, according to his lawyers.He was then blindfolded and taken in his pajamas to an undisclosed location, according to a statement by his authorized defense team at the Arab Network for Human Rights Information.Among the things confiscated were his laptop, telephones and some books, according to the organization.Social media reports of his arrest circulated after he wrote a brief post on Facebook today saying, “I am being arrested.”“He [Abbas] was known as someone who has critical words and opposition views, which is a crime or a reason for reprisals against the one who holds them only in police states,” is known to be a man of a critical word and opposition views, something that is not to be criminalized or avenged for except in a police estate,” the Arab Network for Human Rights Information statement added.
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  • Keystone/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A group of scientists from New Zealand have decided to embark on a journey to solve one of the world’s most elusive mysteries: the Loch Ness monster.The Loch Ness monster, or "Nessie," has been a part of popular folklore since alleged sightings first came to the world's attention in 1933. The mythical creature is believed to be a large marine reptile with a long neck and large protruding humps.The team, led by professor Neil Gemmell of the University of Otago, will investigate the shadowy waters of Loch Ness in Scotland next month.According to the Otago Daily Times, an international team of researchers from the UK, Denmark, USA, Australia and France will use environmental DNA samplings of the water to identify possible DNA remnants left behind by living species in the loch, the United Kingdom’s largest freshwater body.“Whenever a creature moves through its environment, it leaves behind tiny fragments of DNA from skin, scales, feathers fur, feces and urine," Gemmell told the Otago Daily Times.Gemmell and his team will be taking 300 samples of water from different areas around the lake to create a database of cell material that can be sequenced and compared against known genetic sequences from hundreds of thousands of organisms, the Otago Daily Times reported.The hope is to discover an exact match in order to pinpoint where on the tree of life that matching sequence fits.Gemmell told the Otago Daily Times he hopes this new research will unearth deeper knowledge about the biodiversity of Loch Ness.Gemmell did not immediately return ABC News' request for comment.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras) -- All six people aboard a jet that crashed off a Honduras runway and nearly broke in half have survived.Five Americans -- four passengers and a crew member -- and a Venezuelan crew member all were rescued after their Gulfstream apparently overshot the runway in Tegucigalpa, the nation's capital.The four passengers work for EZCORP, the second-largest owner of U.S. pawn shops. Three -- Bob Kasenter, Blair Powell and Nicole Swies -- were treated and released with minor injuries. Joe Rotunda suffered broken ribs and a punctured lung and was transported to a local hospital."The company is coordinating to make sure the employees and crew are receiving proper medical attention," EZCORP said in a statement.The jet had embarked from Austin, Texas, where the company is headquartered.First responders were seen on video helping save those aboard the plane.Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez said via Twitter that those injured were in stable condition.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images(LONDON) -- The Duke and Duchess of Sussex attended their first official engagement today as husband and wife, just three days after their wedding.Prince Harry, 33, and Duchess Meghan, 36, still had their newlywed glow while visiting Buckingham Palace for Prince Charles' 70th birthday patronage celebration.Meghan chose a pale-colored dress, purse and hat for the occasion.She was seen warmly laughing with her new in-laws, Prince Charles and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall.The garden party is an early birthday celebration for Charles, who will turn 70 in November, and his patronage of hundreds of charities.Harry and Meghan's attendance at the celebration had particular significance because it was Charles who walked Meghan down the aisle Saturday in her father's absence.Charles, who has no daughters of his own, met Meghan at the quire of St. George's Chapel and escorted her to the altar, where Harry stood waiting.Charles, first in line to the British throne, was also seen very publicly welcoming Meghan's mother, Doria Ragland, into the family on Saturday. He appeared to hold his hand out to Ragland at the wedding service and also walked her down the chapel's steps after the service.Even though they got back to work today, Meghan and Harry will take a honeymoon before resuming a busy schedule of engagements for the rest of the year.Neither the timing nor the details of the honeymoon have been released by Kensington Palace.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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