updated 1/14/2009 1:35:48 PM ET 2009-01-14T18:35:48

Seven more people have tested positive for the deadly Ebola virus in Congo, bringing the toll of suspected and confirmed cases to 46, according to the medical group Doctors Without Borders.

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Fourteen people have died, all exhibiting symptoms of the hemorrhagic fever, but only one of the deaths was confirmed as resulting directly from Ebola. The deaths were all in Western Kasai, a remote province where last year some 187 people died of Ebola.

Ebola kills up to 90 percent of the people it infects and is spread through direct contact with the blood or secretions of an infected person or with contaminated objects.

In an effort to break the line of contamination, doctors with the medical group are monitoring around 200 people believed to have come into contact with infected patients. Several people have been placed in an isolation center.

The Ebola virus is highly contagious and typically spreads quickly through communities. So far, doctors say the death rate has been low.

"It is true that we are not talking about the usual death rates that come along with Ebola outbreaks. The reason is that although it has been confirmed we are in the presence of an Ebola outbreak, it has not yet been confirmed which type of Ebola we are faced with," said Dr. Michel Van Herp, an epidemiologist.

"The Zaire-type of Ebola kills 70 to 90 percent of those infected, but we could actually be in the presence of a less lethal Ebola strain," he said.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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