KINSHASA: A person in Democratic Republic of Congo who died of a hemorrhagic fever has tested positive for the Ebola virus, signaling the start of a new outbreak, the Health Ministry and the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday.
The case was confirmed from tests on nine people who came down with a hemorrhagic fever in Bas-Uele province in the northeast of the country on or after April 22, a ministry statement said. Three people have died of fever.
“Our country must confront an outbreak of the Ebola virus that constitutes a public health crisis of international significance,” the ministry said.
The WHO’s Congo spokesman, Eugene Kabambi, said: “It is in a very remote zone, very forested, so we are a little lucky. We always take this very seriously.”
The last outbreak of Ebola in Congo was in 2014 and killed 42 people. The country has been hit by Ebola about nine times in all.
Ebola killed more than 11,300 people and infected some 28,600 from 2013, as it swept through Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia and caused alarm around the world.
In June last year WHO declared Liberia free of active Ebola virus transmission. Liberia was the last country still fighting the world’s worst outbreak of the disease.
The GAVI global vaccine alliance said on Friday some 300,000 emergency doses of an Ebola vaccine developed by Merck could be available in case of a large-scale outbreak.
The vaccine, known as rVSV-ZEBOV, was shown to be highly protective against Ebola in clinical trials published last December.
(Additional reporting by Kate Kelland in London, Writing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg,; Editing by Angus MacSwan)