The national biomedical laboratory announced on Friday that a case of Ebola has been identified in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo with reports saying at least three people may have died.
The latest incident comes five months after the outbreak ended.
Authorities in DR Congo are yet to confirm the new case but the World Health Organisation, in a statement released on Friday via its official Twitter handle for Africa Region, said it was working with the country’s health authorities to investigate the case.
The statement reads, “The DRC Ministry of Health just announced that a new case of Ebola has been detected in North Kivu Province, where a previous outbreak was declared over 3 May 2021. WHO is working with health authorities to investigate the case.”
It is unclear whether the case is connected to the outbreak that killed more than 2,200 people in eastern Congo from 2018-2020 or the flare-up that killed six people this year.
According to a report from the INRB lab, test results from a two-year-old in a densely-populated neighbourhood of Beni, which was one of the epicentres of the deadliest outbreak recorded, came from a child in a densely populated neighbourhood.
Three of the baby’s neighbours had symptoms consistent with Ebola last month and died, according to the report, but none were tested for the disease.
Sporadic cases are not uncommon after a major outbreak, health experts say. Virus particles can remain in the semen for months after the infection has healed.
There have been 11 outbreaks of Ebola in the Congo since 1976 when the illness was discovered near the Ebola River. The disease causes vomiting and diarrhoea.
The country’s equatorial forests have been a breeding ground for the virus.
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