The government of the Democratic Republic of Congo declared an outbreak of Ebola hemorrhagic fever, a rare and deadly disease, on Tuesday, the World Health Organization reported. The declaration came after laboratory results confirmed two cases of the disease in the province of Bikoro.
"Our top priority is to get to Bikoro to work alongside the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and partners to reduce the loss of life and suffering related to this new Ebola virus disease outbreak," said Dr Peter Salama, WHO Deputy Director-General, Emergency Preparedness and Response. "Working with partners and responding early and in a coordinated way will be vital to containing this deadly disease."
This is Congo's ninth outbreak of Ebola virus disease since the discovery of the virus in the country in 1976. In the past five weeks, there have been 21 suspected cases of viral hemorrhagic fever, including 17 deaths.
Ebola virus disease, which most commonly affects people and nonhuman primates (monkeys, gorillas and chimpanzees), is caused by one of five Ebola viruses.
The WHO said it is working closely with the government to rapidly scale up its operations and mobilize health partners, including Medicin sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders), using the model of a successful response to a similar Ebola outbreak in 2017.