Killer viruses can ravage countries, but now a new project hopes to spot diseases likely to jump from animals to humans

For several months, health workers have been battling to contain an Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. A total of 60 cases, 28 of them fatal, have been reported around the town of Mbandaka, though authorities say the outbreak is now under control.

Politicians, nevertheless, remain nervous. Thousands died in the West African Ebola outbreak of 2014 after the virus – which probably spread from infected animals, such as fruit bats – triggered widespread cases of severe, sometimes fatal, internal bleeding.

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